Vermeer: A DaVinci Code for Children
Project URL: http://teachnet-lab.org/is24/vermeer/
How it works:
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett is
a mystery adventure that revolves around a boy and girl who attend
the University of Chicago's Laboratory Schools, a school for the gifted.
The two sixth graders team up to solve the theft of a 17th century
Johannes Vermeer painting. The teacher sets the stage for students
to continue reading this novel on their own. Students listen to a
read-aloud of the first chapter, observe and explore famous paintings
by Vermeer, and do online research about the history of the artist
and his paintings while noting the particular use of light, shadow,
and interior settings. Through observation and discussion, they note
the depictions of daily life situations in each painting in preparation
for setting up similar scenes in the classroom. They create pencil
sketches of a painting of their choice to develop the genre style
of portraits indoors, with light coming in from a window on the left.
Students model at the classroom window to simulate a Vermeer interior,
using props and costumes, and draw their subject using charcoal and
pastels to achieve the deep light focusing our attention on our subject.
Using drawing skills and the study of tonal values and shading, students
create a Vermeer style portrait.
Through close observation
and sustained investigation, students develop individual and global
perspectives in art, utilize the principles of art, solve design problems,
and explore perspective, scale, and point of view. Students read,
write, listen, and speak for information and understanding and for
literary analysis. They solve mathematical problems relating to the
geometric concept of pentominoes, and use Internet resources to gather
information to produce written responses.
materials include a computer with Internet access; relevant books,
magazines, and posters; pencil and charcoal drawing paper; charcoal
and ebony pencils; and chalk and pastels.
Originally intended for a 6/7th grade major art talent class, Chasing
Vermeer: A DaVinci Code for Children is easily adaptable to all age groups: K-12, after-school classes,
community organization and senior citizen groups, and college-level
the use of technology and the Internet, students visit art collections
throughout the world. They study 17th century Dutch genre painting
and Vermeer the artist, and compare his works with those of his contemporaries.
Their research provides valuable information on the lives and works
of many artists, and is a wonderful motivational tool for students
to explore their art objectives as well as a way for them to achieve
their objectives of ELA/Math in the art room.
Using a book that is soon to be a major movie release is a great motivational
tool. Students are given an incentive to read more and play math games
while having fun learning.
About the teacher:
Lori Langsner continues to excel in the TeachNet professional
development program. She is one of the founding members of the group
and has published twelve curriculum units on teachersnetwork.org,
many of which have been adapted for classroom use by teachers around
the world. Lori's work was again recognized in November 2005 at TeachNet’s
annual awards ceremony where she addressed an audience of 75 education
professionals and showed examples of her students’ work.
English Language Arts