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The New York Public Library's Picture Collection Online In The Arts Classroom

The Picture Collection Online gives you the chance to integrate images of a variety of types into the arts classroom. The following are some examples, organized by grade level and with correlations to the New York State Learning Standards. Many of the ideas included support Learning Standards in curriculum areas other than the arts. However, only the arts standards are listed here. Although these ideas are organized by age group you will find many are adaptable to younger or older ages.

Elementary School

imageThe Picture Collection Online contains many images that demonstrate how clothing has changed over the centuries. Search The Picture Collection Online and print out images that depict how men, women, and children dressed during the 1800s. Divide students into small groups and distribute one costume image to each group. Ask the students to compare and contrast the clothing in the image from The Picture Collection Online with their own clothing. Ask them to draw a picture of the group in which members wear clothes similar to those worn in the image from the Picture Collection Online. [New York State Arts Standard 3 - Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art]

Use images from The Picture Collection Online for a classroom museum. Begin the project by discussing with students what types of objects are included in museums, how objects for a museum are selected, etc. Explain that students will be creating a museum in the classroom using images from The Picture Collection Online. Show students the different types of images available in the Collection and brainstorm the type of museum they would like to have in the classroom. Have students develop a set of criteria for selecting images to be included in their museum. Then have students select the images for the museum from The Picture Collection Online. Have them print out the images, mount and/or frame them, write captions and informational cards for the images, and determine they best way for the work to be displayed in the classroom. [New York State Arts Standard 1 - Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts; New York State Arts Standard 2 - Knowing and Using Art Materials and Resources]

Intermediate School

The images of insects found in The Picture Collection Online can be used by students as a part of a multimedia presentation that includes images, sounds, music, and text. For the presentation students search The Picture Collection Online for images on a specific insect. The images can be printed out or downloaded to the computer for inclusion in a PowerPoint, Hyperstudio, or web based multimedia presentation. Students can also search the web for insect sounds. And they can search the library for music that depicts the insect they are studying as well as for information about the particular insect of study. After students collect all the materials they can create a multimedia presentation which can be presented to their fellow classmates and members of the school community. [New York State Arts Standard 2 - Knowing and Using Art Materials and Resources]

Students can consider the mood set by different art forms using images in The Picture Collection Online. Before this activity, search through The Picture Collection Online and print out images you think present a particular mood - happiness, fear, anger, etc. During class either distribute printed versions of each image to students or project each image at the front of the room using a computer projection system. As students look at a particular image play 3 or 4 musical selections and ask students to decide which selection goes best with the image they are looking at. While students are considering the images and musical selections discuss how sound and visuals can set a particular mood or feeling. [New York State Arts Standard 3 - Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art]

High School

imageThe Picture Collection Online is a good resource for finding images that depict architecture trends and styles. Divide students into groups and have each group search The Picture Collection Online for images that depict New York City architecture from the 1700s to the early 1900s. Demonstrate to students the different avenues they have for searching for architectural images at The Picture Collection Online website. Point out the subjects that might be especially useful, for example, New York City - Opera Houses, New York City - Court Buildings, New York City - Park Avenue, etc. Have each group print out images they think highlight various stages of architecture and building design during the specific time period. Have the groups create collages of the images and include text that describes what the images in the collage depict and the story the images tell about the history of New York City and its architecture. [New York State Arts Standard 3 - Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art; New York State Arts Standard 4 - Understanding the Cultural Contributions of the Arts]

Students can use the images in The Picture Collection Online to create a picture book for younger children. Students might create alphabet, counting, or New York City history books. Start the process by dividing the students into small groups and have them look at picture books for preschool and early elementary age children. Have each group discuss what makes a good picture book. After students discuss the picture book format have them start to search The Picture Collection Online and begin to think about the type of book they might want to create. Take students through the process of writing the text and selecting the images for their picture books. Have students print out and mount their images, write the text, and then bind the books. When the books are complete students can deliver them to a preschool or early elementary age classroom and read the books to small groups of children. [New York State Arts Standard 1 - Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts; New York State Arts Standard 2 - Knowing and Using Art Materials and Resources]