How to Use Unit 1
To use Unit 1, instructors may begin with Rural Economy in the Early 20th Century or the Creelsboro Landing, 1890s – Documentary Art Interactive. Teachers are encouraged to select the activities that best meet their instructional needs. They also may choose to include activities and readings available in the supplementary resource sets: Dennis Thrasher – Documentary Artist and Documenting Local History Using Primary Sources.
Begin Rural Economy in the Early 20th Century by having students watch the video (Rural Economy), then read the Background Reading. Use one or more of the Discussion Questions to lead classroom or small group discussions, then select one or more of the visual art, and visual and media art activities.
To use the Creelsboro Landing, 1890s – Documentary Art Interactive, begin by projecting the Powerpoint of the entire painting. Use the Discussion Questions to arouse students’ interest. Alternatively, instructors may wish to begin by using Directions to the Artist (the actual directions provided to the artist by the video producer) and its visual art activity to arouse students’ interest. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions – they are designed to engage students in observing closely, using visual evidence to support their claims, and developing questions of their own. Then, ask students to read the Background Reading and use one or more of the associated visual art and visual and media art activities.
Students examine the whole painting through five introductory visual art and visual and media art activities: analyzing and interpreting meaning in artistic work; comparing the final painting to the video producer’s instructions to the artist; critiquing the artist’s style, intent and success; exploring how perspective influences perception of subject matter; and creating and presenting their own documentary art linked to their community’s history.
Next, instructors can access the four lesson sets, linked to four vignettes – small illustrations – that are part of the larger Creelsboro Landing, 1890s painting. Students can roll over the painting with a mouse to access each vignette and associated lesson. Teachers can use the links below for teacher versions of each lesson. From left to right, and from top to bottom, these vignettes are:
Lesson Set 1: Rafting Logs – highlights timbering and the role the river played in transporting logs to market. Students analyze the vignette and research inland waterways. There is a poetry-writing activity and an art project (visual and media art, reading and writing, social studies activities).
- For teachers: Lesson Set 1 – Rafting Logs – teacher version
- For students: Lesson Set 1 – Rafting Logs – student version
Lesson Set 2: Fishing – students study the vignette and imagine the men’s conversation; then improvise a scene and perform it; and discuss the different interpretations (visual art and theater activity).
Lesson Set 3: Campbell’s Ferry – students study the vignette’s artistic and content merits, then critique it; they imagine the conversation on the ferry, improvise and perform scenes, and discuss the different interpretations. They develop compelling questions about the influence of geography on history, the impact of innovation in transportation, and the impact of human interaction on the environment (visual and media art, visual art and theater, social studies activities).
- For teachers: Lesson Set 3 – Campbell’s Ferry – teacher version
- For students: Lesson Set 3 – Campbell’s Ferry – student version
Lesson Set 4: The Steamboat – students study elements of the vignette’s artistic and content merits, then critique it; imagine the conversation on the steamboat, improvise and perform scenes, and discuss the different interpretations; and imagine – then perform – their idea of the vignette’s soundscape (visual and media art, visual art and theater, visual art and music activities).