My colleague Deb Mitchell introduced me to a technique called Visual Thinking Strategies last year, and the more familiar I become with it the more I like it.
The principle is simple: teachers ask specific, open ended questions to get students to look closely at visual material to draw conclusions based on evidence. It is designed to use with all ages--kindergarten to adults.
Although it was originally designed to use with art, we've found that the surprisingly powerful technique works well in getting students to look closely at and analyze all sorts of images, including historic photographs, posters, propaganda, and advertisements.
We're currently revamping the "Coming to Montana: Immigrants from around the World" footlocker and we've included VTS in two of the new lesson plans. That's how much we like it!
Deb created a brief PowerPoint summarizing the technique for a presentation she was giving on VTS that she graciously said I could share with you.
You can learn more about VTS on the VTS website, where you can also watch videos of teachers modeling the technique.
What's your favorite teaching strategy? Share it with me and I'll share it with on the blog.