Session 1: As a whole group, discuss the difference between an inference and an observation. Then, gather the class in front of the painting. If you have a digital copy, you may want to project it. If not, a print copy would work if kids can share be able to look closely.
Spend the first few minutes silently observing the piece of art. No one is allowed to talk- only study. Then, open up the discussion for kids to observations that they see. Begin with calling on one student and then have them call on one another after that to guide the discussion. If students are stumped, you could ask guiding questions such as:
After kids have shared their observations, have them share their inferences. After each inference, ask the student, “What makes you say that?” and guide them to tell you clues from the artwork that give them their idea. You can use the same method of having kids call on other kids so the teacher’s voice is minimal in the discussion.
Session 2: This can be done as a whole group or in a small-group, center setting. Kids can independently study the piece of art again and observe any details they may have missed the first time. Then, they pick one activity to do in their writing notebooks. The activities are set up on an anchor chart for the kids to see. The activities do not change, regardless of the work of art. The activities are all different levels and the kids self-select based on their needs. The activities are as follows:
Green (level 1):
Blue (level 2):
Red (level 3):
When students finish, they may sketch the piece of art in their notebook or pick another activity from the anchor chart to do.
*The Extension Activity is written using William, Lord Cavendish, Later Second Earl of Devonshire, and His Son and Christian, Lady Cavendish, Later Countess of Devonshire, and Her Daughter by Paul van Somer.
This can be done as a follow-up to Session 2 or as a replacement. Students will have an opportunity to create their own work of art based on their interpretation of the painting. Ask the students to really observe the people’s clothes, expressions, and body language. Ask the students the following questions to lead the discussion:
Students will then decide how they want to portray a picture of them with someone they admire (you could limit it to a parent or it could be opened up to any role model in their life). It’s important to stress that their picture should really encompass their relationship with the other person. They may think about what they like to do with that person, a tradition they have, or maybe something they have in common. Then, they can create their picture to show their relationship.
Students may use any materials they’d like to create their picture. Use what you have in your classroom and what the students are comfortable with.
Students will turn in individual writing notebooks and/or art to be assessed.
inference, observation, expression, body language, role model
piece of art (whether it’s a printed copy, digital copy to project, or individual copies for the kids), writing notebook, pencils, writing choice anchor chart, sketch paper, art supplies