Fine Art Analysis #2, van Gogh, critical thinking high school English & art CCSS
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Help students hone their critical thinking and analysis skills with this fine art bell-ringer (Masterpiece Monday? Fine Art Friday?) and/or literature supplemental lesson. The worksheet features six leading questions to help students analyze Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 oil painting, The Starry Night. The download includes both a printable PDF and interactive Google Drive version of the student worksheet along with a high-resolution PDF, JPG image, and Google Slide version of Vincent van Gogh’s public domain artwork.
A few suggested uses:
1. Use this activity with others in this collection as a weekly bell-ringer to begin class. Project the artwork slide as students enter your classroom to catch their attention. Once class begins, assign students to work alone or in teams of two to complete the handout questions while you take attendance and get ready for the class period. After students have had enough time to write their answers (usually five to seven minutes or so), pull the class together for a full-class discussion of The Starry Night.
2. Assign the worksheet as a traditional homework assignment. Launch the discussion mentioned in #1 at the beginning of the next class period.
3. Use the materials to supplement a study of any piece of literature from this era or dealing with issues of mental health. If possible, ask students to use their 1:1 devices to research world events from the same year and/or information about Vincent van Gogh’s life. How might have global events influenced the artist and this work?
4. Use as part of a jigsaw activity. Move students into groups of three and give each group a different piece of art to analyze. Once the small groups have discussed the worksheet questions, have them present the artwork slide and their discoveries to the full class as a mini-presentation. A variety of art analysis lesson materials are available in my shop. Need one you can’t find? Message me and I’ll move as quickly as I can to add any public domain artwork to the collection.
5. Use as part of an emergency sub plan.
I hope your students enjoy stretching their critical thinking skills with this fine art analysis activity.
Please note: An answer key is not included, as students’ responses will vary and any reasonable response would earn credit in my classes. These materials were designed to be used as a class warm-up/conversation starter more than an assessed assignment.
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Image credit: Vincent van Gogh, Museum of Modern Art, WikiMedia Commons, public domain