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8-A Albert Bierstadt, Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, 1865
Ludmila Levina

 

Target audience: University freshmen or sophomores / high school students
Duration of the lesson two 45-minute sessions

Lesson Plan
Goals:

  • to help students understand and appreciate landscape paintings
  • to help students develop their English language skills
  • to help students develop their critical thinking and learning skills

Objectives:

Culture

  • to expose students to a work of American art and help them understand its cultural value
  • to help students understand the cultural context that fostered the given artwork
  • to allow students to explore the history of the Yosemite area

Language

  • to develop students reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills through a variety of learning activities
  • to allow students to use productively the English language through exploration of cultural context
  • to enrich students vocabulary by introducing and reinforcing arts related terms

Critical thinking and learning skills

  • to help students practice using active learning skills and strategies
  • to help students learn to cooperate with others in discussion, group and project work
  • to teach students to structure, compare, analyze and evaluate the information through reading, writing, and listening
  • to teach students to make predictions and inferences
  • to allow students to view the information from different perspectives
  • to enhance students public speaking skills through presentations of the results of a team project

Step-by-step Procedures

Evocation

Activity # 1 Getting in Touch

Directions
1. Pick up a slip with a part of a Native American proverb.
2. Walk around to find the matching part of the proverb.
3. Make up a group with those who have the same proverb.
A people without a history is - like the wind over buffalo grass
Ask questions from you heart and you - will be answered from the heart
To touch the earth is - to have harmony with nature
When a man moves away from nature - his heart becomes hard

Activity # 2 Associations

Directions

  • Look at the portrait of this man. Does his face look familiar to you?
  • Study the portrait carefully and try to guess, when and where he might live what he might do for living.
  • Share your ideas with the group.

Present the ideas of your group to the class. Collect all the ideas on the board.

This man is now considered one of the greatest landscape artists and his name is Albert Bierstadt.

Activity # 3 Watch Feel Think Share

Directions
1. Choose one of the following presentations with the paintings by Albert Bierstadt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLVwmccO3WQ&feature=related
3:12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGRtQ1z-kss&feature=related
3:25
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK4VCWwLYws&feature=related
5
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3m6GPcb2Zg&feature=related
5:08
2. Watch the paintings. Think about what you felt while watching the paintings? What did they remind you of?
3.In your small group share the impression the paintings produced on you.
4. Sum up and tell the class what impressed your group most of all.
5. Analyze and discuss what, to your mind, the paintings youve seen have in common.

Realization of Meaning

Activity # 4 Active Reading

Directions

  • Read the text about Albert Bierstadt and his painting Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, 1865. (chapter 8a, p. 36) at:

http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/downloads/pdfs/Resource_Guide/PA_TeachersResource_Book.pdf

2. While reading the text sum up the information from the text according to the following categories:

  • What youve learned about the painter
  • What youve learned about his style of painting
  • What youve learned about the painting Looking Down Yosemite Valley
  • What youve learned about the area described in the picture
  • What youve learned about the history of the West
  • What youve learned about the U.S. history

Reflection

Activity # 5 Return to Associations

Directions

  • Return to your associations connected with the painters portrait.
  • Discuss how your assumptions have changed after reading the text.

Activity # 6 Imagination Spread
Directions

  • Look at the painting again. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of the scene.

Describe the scenery and express your feelings.

Activity # 7 Paragraph Writing
Directions
Write a paragraph about the difference of a piece of art from a good landscape photograph of the same place.

Activity # 8 Making Connections ( Homework : Project Work)
Directions

  • Choose one of the research teams to make a project to be presented in the next class:
    • Team 1 - Historians

go to the virtual museum of the city of San-Francisco
at http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist5/foremoms.html
to study Gold Rush stories of women pioneers or any other issue of your choice
or to http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Yosemite_National_Park
to explore the history of the Yosemite area

    • Team 2 - Art critics -

go to http://www.artcyclopedia.com/history/hudson-river-school.html
to learn more about The Hudson River School, Thomas Cole and Frederic
Edwin Church
or to http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Albert_Bierstadt
to explore the life of Albert Bierstadt

    • Team 3 Environmentalists

go to http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Yosemite_National_Park
or to http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/yosemite/photographs.htm
http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/yosemite/national_park.html
to learn more about the beauty of t the Yosemite areatoday and its protection

HANDOUTS

Handout #1

Activity # 1 Getting in Touch

Directions
1. Pick up a slip with a part of a Native American proverb.
2. Walk around to find the matching part of the proverb.
3. Make up a group with those who have the same proverb.

A people without a history is

to have harmony with nature

will be answered from the heart

like the wind over buffalo grass

To touch the earth is

When a man moves away from nature

Ask questions from you heart and you

his heart becomes hard

Handout #2

Activity # 2 Associations

Handout #3

Activity # 3 Watch Feel Think Share

Directions
1. Choose one of the following presentations with the paintings by Albert Bierstadt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLVwmccO3WQ&feature=related
3:12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGRtQ1z-kss&feature=related
3:25
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK4VCWwLYws&feature=related
5
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3m6GPcb2Zg&feature=related
5:08
2. Watch the paintings. Think about what you felt while watching the paintings? What did they remind you of?
3.In your small group share the impression the paintings produced on you.
4. Sum up and tell the class what impressed your group most of all.
5. Analyze and discuss what, to your mind, the paintings youve seen have in common.

Handout #4

Activity # 4 Active Reading

Directions

  1. Read the text about Albert Bierstadt and his painting Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, 1865. (chapter 8a, p. 36) at:

http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/downloads/pdfs/Resource_Guide/PA_TeachersResource_Book.pdf

Vocabulary list:

to venture (verb) - to brave the dangers of (something) - o, ;
stagecoach (noun) - a large four-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle formerly used to
carry passengers - () , (
)
comparable (with) (adjective) - able to be compared (with) ,
claim (noun) - an assertion of a right; a demand for something as due ,
canvas (noun) - a painting on this material, esp. in oils
trapper (noun) - a person who traps animals, esp. for their furs or skins - ,
settler (noun) - a person who settles on a new territory - ,
climax (noun) - a decisive moment in a dramatic or other work -
landscape (noun) - a painting, drawing, etc., depicting natural scenery
to dwindle (verb) - to grow less in size -
insignificance (noun) littleness, unimportance - ;
non-indigenous (adjective) not originating (in a country, region, etc.) - ,
to exaggerate (verb) - to regard or represent as larger or greater, more important or
more successful, etc., than is true - ,
haze (noun) - obscurity of perception - ; (, )
frontier (noun) - the edge of the settled area of a country - ( )
to embody (verb) - to give a tangible, or concrete form to (an abstract concept) - (-.) ; (-. )
to lament (verb) - to feel or express sorrow, or regret (for or over) - ;

2. While reading the text sum up the information from the text according to the following categories:

  • What youve learned about the painter
  • What youve learned about his style of painting
  • What youve learned about the painting Looking Down Yosemite Valley
  • What youve learned about the area described in the picture
  • What youve learned about the history of the West
  • What youve learned about the U.S. history

Handout #5

Activity # 7 Paragraph Writing

Directions
Write a paragraph about the difference of a piece of art from a good landscape photograph of the same place.

Handout #6

Activity # 8 Making Connections ( Homework : Project Work)
Directions

  • Choose one of the research teams to make a project to be presented in the next class:
    • Team 1 - Historians

go to the virtual museum of the city of San-Francisco
at http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist5/foremoms.html
to study Gold Rush stories of women pioneers or any other issue of your choice
or to http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Yosemite_National_Park
to explore the history of the Yosemite area

    • Team 2 - Art critics -

go to http://www.artcyclopedia.com/history/hudson-river-school.html
to learn more about The Hudson River School, Thomas Cole and Frederic
Edwin Church
or to http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Albert_Bierstadt
to explore the life of Albert Bierstadt

    • Team 3 Environmentalists

go to http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Yosemite_National_Park
or to http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/yosemite/photographs.htm
http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/yosemite/national_park.html
to learn more about the beauty of t the Yosemite areatoday and its protection

REFERENCES

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLVwmccO3WQ&feature=related
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGRtQ1z-kss&feature=related
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK4VCWwLYws&feature=related
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3m6GPcb2Zg&feature=related
5. http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/downloads/pdfs/Resource_Guide/PA_TeachersResource_Book.pdf (p.36)
6. http://gallerix.ru/album/Albert-Bierstadt/pic/glrx-389736938
7. http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist5/foremoms.html
8. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Yosemite_National_Park
9. http://www.artcyclopedia.com/history/hudson-river-school.html
10. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Albert_Bierstadt
11. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Yosemite_National_Park
12. http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/yosemite/photographs.htm
13. http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/yosemite/national_park.html

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

GLOSSARY

to venture (verb) - to brave the dangers of (something) - o, ;
stagecoach (noun) - a large four-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle formerly used to
carry passengers - () , (
)
comparable (with) (adjective) - able to be compared (with) ,
claim (noun) - an assertion of a right; a demand for something as due ,
canvas (noun) - a painting on this material, esp. in oils
trapper (noun) - a person who traps animals, esp. for their furs or skins - ,
settler (noun) - a person who settles on a new territory - ,
climax (noun) - a decisive moment in a dramatic or other work -
landscape (noun) - a painting, drawing, etc., depicting natural scenery
to dwindle (verb) - to grow less in size -
insignificance (noun) littleness, unimportance - ;
non-indigenous (adjective) not originating (in a country, region, etc.) - ,
to exaggerate (verb) - to regard or represent as larger or greater, more important or
more successful, etc., than is true - ,
haze (noun) - obscurity of perception - ; (, )
frontier (noun) - the edge of the settled area of a country - ( )
to embody (verb) - to give a tangible, or concrete form to (an abstract concept) - (-.) ; (-. )
to lament (verb) - to feel or express sorrow, or regret (for or over) - ;

POWER POINT SLIDES

(see separate files)
 
         
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