Analyse this – Slide show idea for Teachers

Dear Teachers… (Hey students, don’t wait for teachers to set this up, create your own!)

Often one of the tricky areas in art education is getting students to be involved in looking at artworks and providing some form of analysis of artworks, even in a fairly formal sense. The probem seems to come when Teachers say “Today we are going to do some Art History” this turns some of them off straight away… Here’s a way to hopefully break the cycle.


Make up a slide show (power point or the like) of about 15 – 20+¬†artworks of varying styles and types (prefereably images your students may connect with), then run a BRIEF session with the students where you flip quickly through the slides asking what the students see. When a few points have been raised about one image, move on and do the same thing with the next image. The aim is to get them to quickly see the basics, developing the skill of seeing basic “formal” elements. The key is doing it fairly fast, for a twist, flash an image up for 5 seconds, take it off and ask what they saw.

In the end the students will have had to think quickly about what they saw without making too many judgements, like “I didn’t like it…” stick to the basics and give them a few points, like… “What colours did you see, were there lines? Subject matter? Tones, Shapes, Form, Texture, Composition etc…

Eventually you should be able to show them a bunch of images and say nothing as they will call out what they see as they will be used to the process. (sneaky huh…)

Over time you could even create a series of these slideshows, to build a repertoire of images students can discuss in more depth. You could also add some details like the name of the artist, dates etc when the more in depth discussion and analysis needs to take place.

It could be a quick start to a practical art session where you might want to catch them off guard and cause them to think in a different direction for a while.

For more points to discuss and analyse with try this. or this…

A savvy teacher might also set up a series of online images on a school intranet and ask different questions for different year levels, just food for thought! Perhaps a great way to introduce homework for students via the internet, add a pdf file for parents to get involved too outlining the same process I have above, Enjoy!

Extension activities.


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