Visit an art museum and become familiar with its paintings.
Take note of the locations of paintings that will lend themselves well to the activity, i.e., realistic works portraying at least one human figure. Such paintings will facilitate a student's sense of connection to the work and will provide plenty of visual stimulus to pique students' imaginations. (Before going to the museum, you may want to model the activity in class so the students will know what to expect. One way to do this is to buy reproductions of paintings, in the form of slides or postcards, from the museum. Bring them into the classroom a day or two before your trip to the museum and have the students complete steps 2 through 5 under At the Museum.)

Ask museum educators or public program staff members if there is an area where you can conduct part of the lesson.
Students will need a relatively quiet area for writing in the museum. Explain that a classroom is not necessary; you can use a corner of a gallery as long as other groups don't also need the area. Make sure that guards know in advance what you'll be doing and where.

Pass out a copy of the Picture-Writing Page to each student.
Teacher Jeff Miner prepared this sheet for his ninth-grade honors English class. It outlines the activity for students and gives them room to take notes when they reach the museum.

Last Modified September 19, 1997