Music + Art

Activity- Select three types of music for students to listen to for an exercise in musicality. Ask them to give form to the sounds they hear, to draw or paint abstract “musical drawings” for each song. Compare the drawings. What affect did the music have on each piece? How did the type of music influence… Read on

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It’s Tradition

Document family traditions by interviewing grandparents, uncles, and aunts to find out about family history. Listen to family stories, learn about grandparents’ hobbies, hear about their childhood songs and games, and investigate special holidays and family events. Create a class scrapbook or blog post that features stories and pictures from the past. Consider including recipes… Read on

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Investigate Traditions

Investigate with your students traditions (ethnic and otherwise) that are celebrated during the run of the feature exhibition. Consider reading one of the children’s stories listed below to begin. American Folk Art for Kids by Richard Panchyk Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter by Kathy Whitehead and Shane W. Evans Fish Eyes by… Read on

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Culture and Experience

Encourage students to compare the traditions of other ethnicities with their own culture and experience. What customs and rituals are similar, and which are different? Do any of the traditions overlap with their own? Teach respect for different ideas and people. Talk about the elements that are common to everyone. For example, people from different… Read on

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Backdrop Design

Collect reproductions of your favorite band or team, and then cut out the individuals and arrange them so that they form a rough triangle. Adhere each to paper and cut around the edges of the figures. Now, using your imagination, create three completely different backdrops for your group.

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Backdrop Building

Create your own architectural setting for George Frederick Cooke in the Role of Richard III (1811–12).  Have students research similar structures built during that time period. Lead a discussion about setting and the significance of architecture. Afterwards have students create their own structures using only masking tape, newspaper, and paper tubes.

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Literature Connection

Look through picture books or read chapters from the books featured in portraits in the exhibition (e.g., Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, MacBeth, Merchant of Venice, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Old Curiosity Shop, Robinson Crusoe). Don’t forget to discuss the book and its correlation to the portraits viewed in the exhibition. Ask students… Read on

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The Great Debate

Historians continue to debate the merits of the decisions and actions taken by President Andrew Jackson during his two terms in office. Living between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Jackson played a central role in virtually all the controversial issues of his time—Indian removal, economic reform, states’ rights, and slavery. Overshadowed in popular… Read on

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Symbolic Portraiture

Artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Hammons use abstract images or found objects (instead of realistic images) to make a portrait. Have students make a symbolic portrait, either of themselves or of a person in their family. They should start by brainstorming objects that are important to their subject, words that describe the person,… Read on

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Quotables: Respond and React

After viewing the exhibition with your students, use the quotes below by artists represented in 30 Americans as primary sources for a write-around activity. A write-around is a written discussion between four students. Divide your students into groups of four, and project one of the quotes and a work of art by the artist in… Read on

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