No Money for Field Trips? Visit an Art Museum Without Leaving Your Classroom

Art has played such an important role in history. It has influenced rulers, social reforms, and led revolutions. Not only has it played an important role in history, but it is very closely linked to many of the subject areas that we teach in our schools today. Yet, due to budget cuts, it is one of the first programs to go.

Not to get into a debate about the importance of the arts, but I would like to give you a way to share those historical paintings with your students without leaving the classroom. Google's Art Project provides a way of representing the important works of history all from your computer. This site is very UDL friendly! Why do you ask?

  • Click on any painting of your choice and you have the ability to zoom in and zoom out, customizing the display of information (Checkpoint 1.1). This is perfect for students with disabilities, but it is also a great tool for your students to analyze a painting even further. 
  • The Create an Art Collection feature, gives you the opportunity create your own collection of paintings from Google's 1000+ artworks. You can create your own customized views and personalize the artworks with adding comments. 
  • Google also gives you the ability to use its Street View technology (very popular on Google Maps) to navigate through some of the world's most famous art museums. This is a great way of providing your students with options for learning, proving them with ways to respond and navigate through material (Checkpoint 4.1). 

How could I use this in my classroom? 

Imagine that you are a history teacher and you are beginning a unit on Communism. As students walk through your room, they see a painting of Red Square in Moscow on your projector screen. You begin class by having students write a response the writing prompt on your board about the painting. This gives students a chance to write their ideas down.

After a few moments, you have students share their responses with a partner in the room, providing students with a way to verbally express themselves (multiple means of action and expression). This leads to a discussion about the painting.  You use the zoom feature to zoom in on important pieces of the painting (multiple means of representation).

This leads to the lesson, which you talk about the significance of Red Square and what it meant to the communist movement. You teach by sharing video clips, a PowerPoint, and a guided note outline (multiple means of representation).

Near the end of your lesson, you provide students with an opportunity to explore the Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow, Russia. Maybe you have laptops or computer in your classroom or maybe  you don't. If you do have computers, you ask students to navigate through the museum and find another painting that most signifies the communist movement (multiple means of action and expression). Maybe you provide links for students to research at home or on their cell phone. This may not work in many districts, due to the fact that some of our kids may not have computer access.

Maybe you don't have laptops or computers in your classroom. Maybe you navigate through the museum on your screen and show students 2 pre-selected paintings that relate the communist movement (multiple means of action and expression).

Whatever your situation, because you know your kids better than I do, you decide to have students do a writing assignment about this selected painting and how it relates to the class discussion earlier that day (multiple means of action and expression).

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