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An Original Wacky We-Search Report housed at WritingFix
this writing across the curriculum assignment inspires summarizing, not plagiarizing

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The Wacky Frame of History Activity

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Welcome to this Activity!

A Wacky
Frame of History

designing a visually-inspired research report that can fit in a thrift store picture frame

This wacky activity was created by Northern Nevada teacher Lynda Donovan.

This writing activity was inspired by Barry Lane's book, 51 Wacky We-Search Reports. In Nevada, Barry's book has been teaching us to help students think deeply about learned content as they learn to put ideas in their own words.

Overview of this Wacky Writing Activity:

Students will produce an informative/visual collage showing a particular artist/style/historical period. Students will be “framing” the collage of information they have learned/researched along with examples of artwork. This can be adapted to be done individually, pairs or a group. Beneath each picture of the collage (which can be peeled back) is a piece of writing about the artist/style/period.


The Set-up:

Classically, art history is presented as a series of slides and reports. Have students really get to know what the artists were like by presenting a series of at least 10 interesting facts with related pictures depicting an artist’s work. Students will arrange these facts, like learning centers on a nature trail, with the facts beneath/underneath the corresponding picture. Lift and Learn. Old frames can be picked up at thrift stores very cheaply and then painted to hold the collage.


The Punch:

Pick out interesting examples of an artist’s work and give information as to where the artist was physically and/or mentally when producing that piece of art. Consider the artist’s inspiration when he painted the piece. Does the piece have some historical significance in the world, or to the artist? Try to include a selfportrait of the artist. Put the information under the pictures so anyone can view and learn more by lifting the pictures. Think of lifting a wooden example of paw prints on a nature trail—then you find out what kind of animal made the paw print.


A Funny Tip:

Produce a humorous quote from the artist/period/style based upon what you know. Example: Edward Degas, “I am not a starving artist, at least not until my daddy dies”, Vincent Van Gogh, “Girls are not impressed when you give them part of your ear”.



A Teacher-Made Sample:
(created by Lynda Donovan, this lesson's author)

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