First, Nancy had us choose from a large, mixed stack of postcard prints. Our first task was to look at our image and line up from realistic art to abstract WITHOUT talking. After that was completed, Nancy had us create a circle, bringing the most realistic and most abstract next to each other. As we looked around the circle at each other's postcard image, she asked: does anyone need to move or switch? The group made a few adjustments, and we discussed how this could be used in the classroom.
Holding on to the same postcard, we grouped ourselves by subject matter. I had a Monet flower landscape, so I quickly became part of a landscape group. Once these groups were created, one person in the group had to explain out grouping to the class. With the various artworks chosen, it was interesting to hear the groups explain their reasoning. This is a great way to get students talking about all kinds of art and art terminology.
Our next task in this group was to create a poem. We needed to use sound, shape, color, a statement about our connection, feelings or emotions. A title was necessary and if we had time, we could have created a mini-performance or tableau. These would be great ways for students to speak, write, move and dance their interpretations of art.
After choosing from a new set of postcards, we quickly realized we all had different Georgia O'Keefe painting images. This would be an interesting way to introduce a new artist to a class. Nancy asked us to line up again, in chronological order. (The date the art was created is on the back of most of the postcards.) "What did O'Keefe paint the most? Let's compare. How did her work change? Hey, what is that bridge doing here?" Again, a great way to get students speaking and sharing about art, using visual art terminology.
How about using these postcards for assessment? If you see a student struggling with these activities, this is a great opportunity to help the student understand the concept. After students have learned about the artist, they can create a page for you about it using words, pictures, however they would like to express it! Students can also make their own card collections, creating small art cards with their favorite mediums.
Students enjoy activities with art postcards. They get one of their own (if only for a little while) and talking about art = learning about art!
Resource: Pomegranate.com has lots of art postcard "books" to purchase, like these. You can take them apart so each student has one to hold.