Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Visual Thinking Strategies

Over a week ago, both Gr 4's and 5's had the opportunity to use the visual thinking strategies (VTS) that I learned about in the summer (through our Ottawa Catholic School Board Summer Institute). The workshop inspired me to expand how I teach Visual Arts. I didn't realize how important and popular teaching VTS was until I noticed it is offered in the school program at the National Art Gallery and the research/awareness surrounding the method (check out the main website).

I had modelled how to answer the three main questions:

  • What's going on in this picture? Qu’est-ce qui se passe dans cet oeuvre?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?  Que vois-tu qui te fais dire cela…?  or Qu'est-ce qui te fais dire ça? or Pourquoi penses-tu ça?
  • What more can we find? Que peut-on trouver de plus? Quoi d’autre peux-tu trouver?
As a class, we brainstormed our ideas, thoughts and our inferences. I then had groups of students pretend they were in an art gallery studying paintings. I had the prints of paintings set up around my classroom. Students used a small card with the 3 questions to guide their discussions in French. They also used the QuickVoice app to record their discussions.
QuickVoice is extremely convenient. Students were able to easily airdrop their files onto my idevice. They were also able to upload their recordings onto their Google Drive.

I noticed that giving them a tool to capture their discussions made students more liable and responsible for collaborating in French and being productive in their groups. They also really enjoyed the whole process. It enabled them to practice their oral French in a less formal fashion.


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