Visual Thinking Strategies provides for open-ended discussions of visual art, increasing students’ critical thinking, language, and literacy skills along the way. We had two groups using VTS this year, one Kindergarten-1st grade students and the other 2nd-4th grade students.
Students look at a work of art and consider a question such as “What’s going on in this picture?” or “What do you see in this picture?” As they share their thoughts and ideas, they also respond to “Why do you think that?” or “What do you see that makes you say that?” In both groups, students engaged in lively discussions, sharing wide-ranging ideas and interpretations of the work of art being considered. They were careful observers of the artwork. They often connected what they saw to their own experiences or knowledge. They listened with interest to others’ ideas and offered their own as well.
The discussions often took the whole time. When time allowed, they wrote or drew in their journal, responding to the work of art discussed that day.