This activity has been very helpful in showing students the differences between observational writing and analysis/synthesis. It is separated like a lab report so that it shows students what types of writing go into which fields.
Activity: Today we will be going to the Museum. After reading the Hoshino piece for Tuesday, you have seen how writing can express the same ideas as a visual text. For this activity, I would like you to pick a piece of art from the Museum and write about it. Since this is the observation unit, you should aim to use descriptive language only in the appropriate sections. You don’t have to take on a literary style — this isn’t fiction writing. Instead you should try to describe exactly how the painting looks — what colors are in it, what subjects are in it, artistic techniques you may be familiar with, etc.
Note Taking: On this side of the handout, please take notes of observations or ideas you have in the appropriate section. You do not need to write complete sentences, just enough for you to remember what ideas or observations you made when you observed your piece of art. Once you have found a place to sit down, I would like you to write these observations and ideas down in complete sentences within coherent paragraphs. For this, I’ll require four sentences per paragraph — and one paragraph per section, so make sure to take good notes!
|Abstract: This section should be written last, as it will give your reader an overview of your entire experience in the Museum. However, for the note-taking section, feel free to fill it out whenever you wish to record something down.|
|Introduction: This section should be written second to last, as it sets up the framework of the paper. In it, you should write a thesis, simply to set up which art work you chose to write about and what ideas it gave you. (Think of it as an opening paragraph to a normal essay)|
|Materials and Methods: This section should be written first. It should include all of the materials and methods you used — so you’d want to include how you got to the Museum, what time it was, what art piece you chose, what your method of observation was, how long you observed it for, etc.|
|Results: This section will be your description of the artwork. It should only include what the piece looks like, and cannot include any ideas it may have given you! (No analysis!)|
|Discussion: This section should include your analyses of the art, according to the observations you noticed. Write this section third.|
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW IF YOU TAUGHT THIS LESSON IN YOUR CLASSROOM. HOW DID IT GO? WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? DID YOU MAKE ANY MODIFICATIONS?