The following information may be useful in assuming your role as a T.A.G. volunteer and preparing and delivering your presentations:

    • Do the students know the difference between original works of art and reproductions?
      • When artists create a work, they usually make only one. It is called an original.
      • Original art is collected and shared in museums and galleries.
      • When people cannot go to museums, or they want to learn more about/enjoy art other places, they can see the works by looking at reproductions/photos like the T.A.G. prints.
      • Original works may not be the same size as the reproduction. The colors may look a little different too. (Share information regarding the actual size of the original, if possible, particularly if it varies greatly from the size of the reproduction.)
      • Where can you go around her to find original works?
    • Preparing a conducive atmosphere for the presentation:
      • Can everyone see the work we are going to learn about?
      • What props can you bring in, clothing you can wear to enliven the session? This doesn't have to be complicated! Wear a bright red shirt when presenting Alexander Calder and tell the students that this artist once said that he thought everything should be red (a trademark color of his sculptures)
    • The T.A.G. Volunteer's Role: A Discussion Leader as Opposed to the Deliverer of Information:
      • Let the students discover the points you wish to make, rather than being told.
      • Be a curious partner in finding out about the work, rather than the one with all the answers.
      • Give the students support in responding, there are no wrong answers. Be accepting and appreciative of input.
      • Use your body language to encourage/reinforce participation. (Point to all that is mentioned in the work; acknowledge each student's response - look at them, smile, nod, and paraphrase their input, as if you were saying "What I hear you saying is..." This technique indicates you understand and value their comment.
      • Be prepared for students (particularly younger ones) to talk on and on about something they feel relates to the work or your question. After all, the T.A.G. time is a wonderful chance to share their imagination, recollections, stories, movies, and other experiences. As a student begins to "wander off," get them to anchor their stories in the artwork by asking, "What do you see that makes you think that?"
      • Try to use accurate or specific language; "painting," "drawing" vs. "picture"
      • Impart to the students that each artist is different and has something different to say. Share a few key interesting insights on the artist’s life and times that made their contribution to the world special. What things in the artist’s life can the students relate to their own lives?
    • The Students' Role as Detectives:
      • The students are not simply receiving information. They must be active participants, doers, and decision-makers.
      • They should be asking questions as well as answering questions. (Beginning viewers have more to say than to ask. As students become more experienced in looking at and interpreting art, curiosity and questioning develops as a natural next step.)
      • Students must be observant. (Share the "looking process" you use with them. Give them opportunities to use the process themselves.)

    As you prepare your T.A.G. presentation, incorporate questions that give students the opportunity to make their own discoveries in the art they examine.

    Utilizing VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies):

    What is VTS?

    Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is an inquiry-based teaching method that is used in museums and school classrooms across the country, however you do not need any special art training to use this strategy. The goal of VTS is not to teach the history of a work of art but rather uses art to teach visual literacy, thinking, and communication skills - listening and expressing oneself. This strategy encourages students to observe art independently and back up their comments with evidence while participating in peer group discussions, facilitated by a teacher or adult.

    Discussing Artwork
    • Open with: "What's going on in this picture?"
      Summarize student responses using conditional language ("Johnny thinks this could be..."). This keeps the conversation open to other interpretations by other students.
    • If appropriate: "What do you see that makes you say that?"
      This encourages students to back up their statements with things they see in the artwork.
    • Ask the group: "What more can we find?"
      This continues the conversation.

    Additional Strategies for Presentations:
    • To initiate discussion:
      • What's going on in this painting?
      • What clues does the painting give to you (character, setting, time of day, season, conflict, etc.)?
    • To perpetuate the discussion:
      • What else can you find?
      • What more do you see?
      • Who can add to that?
      • Who sees something else?
      • Does anyone see something different?
    • Explore the PEOPLE in the artwork:
      • What do you think the people in the painting saying?
      • How do you think they feel?
      • What makes you say that?
    • Explore the SCENE in the artwork:
      • If you could hop into the painting, what would you do there?
      • How long would you stay? Why?
      • What would your five senses tell you if you were in the middle of the scene? (Would you feel the sun shining on your face? Would you feel a breeze? How does the artist let you “feel” these things? Is it noisy or quiet? Which one of the senses does the work best fit? Why?)
    • Explore the STUDENTS' INTERPRETATIONS/FEELINGS about the artwork:
      • What would you title this painting? Why do you think the artist entitled this painting _______________?
      • How does this painting make you feel? Why do you say this?
      • How is the image in the painting similar to/different from your own lives?
      • Would you like this painting hanging in your room? Why or why not?

    Art Concepts
    Concepts to explore:
    • Line
    • Shape
    • Color
    • Value
    • Form
    • Texture
    • Space
    • Balance
    • Contrast
    • Pattern
    • Rhythm
    • Unity
    • Symmetry
    • Repetition

    Choose one or two concepts that you would like to emphasize in your presentation. What does your particular painting lend itself to? Is your artist a noted colorist? If so, you can emphasize color concepts. What concepts might tie in with an area of the curriculum at the grade level you are presenting to? (Ex. 2nd grade math includes symmetry concepts; Calder's stars let's them explore asymmetrical balance.) What concepts is the art teacher covering at each grade level? How can you dovetail into their lessons?

    Examples of Questioning Techniques when talking about Elements of Art:
    1. Line - A mark that connects two points on a flat surface.
      • Does the artist use lines or shapes in this painting? What kind of lines are there? Bold, thick, strong, dark, delicate, thin, light, curved, straight?
      • Are there many or few lines? Do the lines create movement? Do the lines go in different directions? Is the movement calm, busy, fast or slow

    2. Shape/Form - Shapes are thought of as flat and two-dimensional. Form is used to describe something that is three-dimensional.
      • Which shapes are geometric (rectangle, circle, etc.)?
      • Find shapes that have soft/hard edges. 
      • Which forms look round (cylinder or ball), or square (cube) or rectangular (shoebox)?
      • How does the artist show volume? (Use of light and shade/shadowing, etc.)

    3. Color - Identify the colors (hue) in the work of art.
      • Primary colors: RED, YELLOW, and BLUE - There are many kinds of red, yellow and blue but the primaries are the purist you can get.
      • Secondary colors: ORANGE, GREEN, AND PURPLE - These colors are made from mixing the two primaries on either side of them on the color wheel.
      • The value of a color is how light or dark it is. Point out tints (light colors: ex. Pink is red and white). Point out shades (dark colors: ex. Dark red is red and black).
      • Discuss the mood of color. How do different colors make you feel? Name the colors that appear warm (red, yellow, orange). Name the colors that appear cool (blue, green, purple). How do warm colors/cool colors make you feel differently? (A fun book to use for younger students to convey this idea of the mood of color is: My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss.)
      • Point out bright colors; dull colors (intensity). Identify colors that jump out; go back. Older students can be introduced to color scheme concepts. For example, Monet used strokes of complementary colors side by side. (Complementary colors are those opposite each other on the color wheel like red and green.) Their use produces a push-pull effect of color. (In Monet's case, gave the work a brilliance of color.

    4. Texture - A way a surface feels (real texture) or looks to feel (visual texture).
      • Ask students to point out objects that look rough, shiny, smooth, etc. Do you see brush strokes? (Heavy paint strokes known as impasto giving a rough texture to the work).
      • What might the artist have painted with to give various textures? How else does the artist create texture: (through line, shape, or color?)

    5. Space - Element that gives the work of art depth.
      • Point out flat, two-dimensional space. Point out space that looks three-dimensional. Point out objects that seem close and are in the foreground. Point out objects that are in the middle ground. Point out objects that seem far away and are in the background.
      • To convey the concept of space/depth/dimension, ask students things like: Can you walk into the painting? Would you feel crowed or like you were in a wide open space? Explain that artists use "tricks of illusion" almost like magic tricks to make a flat surface like a canvas seem three-dimensional (like you could walk back into the scene).
      • Examples are:
        • Large objects appear close; small objects appear far away.
        • Diagonal lines pull a person's eye into the painting and give the feeling of depth.
        • All lines converge in a vanishing point.
        • Objects that overlap other objects appear closer.
        • Edges appear clear in the foreground; edges appear hazy in the background.
        • Warm, light color areas appear close; cool, dark, duller colors appear farther away.

    6. Light - Creates a sense of volume; creates a mood.
      • Point out light areas. How do they make you feel? Point out dark areas and describe your feelings about them. Point out a place where strong light is dramatic for "catching your eye" (a focal point).
      • How can the light an artist is working in affect/change the colors of objects in the painting? (Ex.: At dawn, Monet's haystack takes on a pink color/cast, at noon- a more golden color with the bright sun, and at dusk- a more blue/purple shade.)

    Examples of Questioning Techniques when talking about Principles of Art:
    1. Balance
      • Does the position of an object, shape, color or person create balance in the painting? (The artist balances the painting so all the heavy or bright objects aren't in one place. An unbalanced work of art does not pull the eye around the picture; the eye gets stuck in corners or on the side.)
      • Where does your eye go when you look at the picture (focal point)? Why?
      • symmetrical/formal balance? (If the painting were cut in two down the middle, both sides would be equal/the same.)
      • Asymmetrical or Informal Balance - The sides are not exactly the same because the weight is distributed differently but evenly (in a pleasing manner).

    2. Pattern
      • Pattern is made by repeating shapes, color, and lines. What patterns do you see in the work?

    3. Variety
      • At the same time, to make the work of art interesting, the artist varies the use of line, color, and shapes.