Norman Rockwell, an all-American painter, captures the hearts of so many of us: young and old. He has a realistic sense of humor, a poignant grasp of the human spirit, and an ability to express so much in the expressions of his characters’ faces.
In the classroom, his painting can be used to grab students’ attention. Students love to watch the boys in a pig pile grasping for the pigskin in First Down, wonder what happened to the girl outside the principal’s office in Girl with a Blackeye, and are curious as to why the boy is giving medicine to his dog in Mysterious Malady.
There is so much going on in each of Rockwell’s paintings, both action and emotion; and in them is much potential for art integration including ways to develop grammar skills and reading strategies. Over the next few weeks, we will be going over a few ways to do just that!
Collecting Rockwell paintings can be easy. Maybe you have old calendars of his work or a few prints in your home. If not, you can display some of his works on your classroom computer after finding a few examples on the internet. A great resource is the Norman Rockwell Museum website http://www.nrm.org/. Here, along with finding images, you can explore Rockwell’s biography and view his home and studio. Another wonderful website to visit is http://www.rockwelllicensing.com/index.html. Click the gallery tab and view full screen images of Rockwell’s paintings.
If you have hard copies of his paintings (like outdated calendars), consider laminating them to preserve them in the classroom. Maybe you have enough for students to use in small groups or even individually. If so, you can pass out examples or place the artwork around your room and have students do the activity while traveling from piece to piece in an “around the world” format. If not, consider doing a shared lesson or activity with your whole class or with a small group. Another possibility is to create a center in your room where students can visit and follow simple directions to complete an activity while enjoying and studying a great piece of Americana.
Each week this month, I will be blogging about Norman Rockwell and how to integrate his artwork into your language curriculum. Each blog will have a link to a worksheet you can print and use right away in your classroom.
We encourage you to try out these activities this month and to comment on the blogs, activities and ideas. You might even find that you can share other ways to integrate Rockwell into what you do! Your voice and ideas matter! Muse Away!
There is so much you can do with a Norman Rockwell painting (or other well selected painting or photo) that directly relates to many reading skills. My ebook, Integrating the Works of Norman Rockwell into Reading Instruction explains more and gives activities to teach many of them including drawing conclusions, deciphering fact and opinion and making predictions.