Adult Ed

Student Masterpieces

Overview | Activities

Introductory Activities

One Question Interview

Divide the class into pairs and give one question strip from the One Question Interview handout to each pair of students. Ask students to choose the role of note-taker or interviewer. Pairs circulate in the classroom surveying at least ten of their classmates with their assigned question. The note-taker will list the names of the students interviewed along with their responses. The interviewer is responsible for asking the question and eliciting a response. Once students have finished interviewing, ask students to review the results of their survey, to add up the number of students interviewed and to identify any commonalities and something surprising or interesting. Students prepare to report back by completing the following phrases:

We interviewed _____________people and asked them _____________________. Most people said ____________________. We thought it was interesting/surprising that ____________________.

Ask students to share their findings with the whole class. Make connections to the focus of this lesson, i.e. using paintings to generate stories.

Art Stories

Divide the class into groups of three to four students and give each group a postcard, a downloaded color copy, or a book with a picture of a painting that tells a story. Paintings such as The Siesta (Gauguin), Girl with a Pearl Earring (Vermeer), First Steps (Van Gogh), Sunlight in a Cafeteria (Hopper) are generative to creating stories. Distribute the Art Stories Activity Guide to each group and explain that they will share their story with the class. Circulate and provide support as necessary.

Learning Activities

Developing an Understanding of the Short Story

Explain the main elements of the short story. Students go back to their stories and add or enhance any missing elements. Distribute the appropriate number of copies of the handout, Elements of a Short Story and explain that students will have to complete the chart for the stories read by each of the small groups. After each group reads their story aloud, the class names the elements for each story.

Reading a Short Story

Distribute copies of the handout The Story of an Hour, a short story by Kate Chopin and ask students to read it. Once students have read the story, divide them into pairs and ask them to re-tell the story. When they are finished, ask the whole class to re-tell The Story of an Hour by going around the room and asking each student to say one thing that happened in the story in sequence, without repeating what has already been said Finally, students identify and call out the short story elements present in The Story of an Hour.

Vocabulary Development

Divide the class into small groups and distribute the handout The Story of an Hour Vocabulary Chart. Students work together to find sentences in the story that illustrate the meaning of adjectives selected to describe the characters in The Story of an Hour. For additional vocabulary practice, create a crossword puzzle highlighting different parts of speech from the story. See Media Components for a website on which you can customize and produce a puzzle.

Using Art to Create a Short Story
Divide students into small groups and distribute the Student Masterpieces Project Guide. Explain to the class that they will prepare for the project by using the museum's website. At the museum, ask students to continue working in their groups to create their stories. Circulate to provide support as needed. Collect one story per group and give students written feedback about their story. Meet with each group in class to go over feedback and ask students to write a second draft of the story. Give editing suggestions on the second draft and ask students to write a third and final draft.

Culminating Activities

Student Masterpieces Book

Collect and compile the final drafts of the students' short stories along with a copy of the painting that inspired the story. Ask students to volunteer to create a cover and call the book Student Masterpieces. If possible, makes copies of the book for every student. Distribute the book and having a "publishing" celebration at which students read the short stories aloud.

Dramatic Interpretation of Short Stories

Divide students into small groups and assign a short story from the Student Masterpieces book. Ask students to identify the characters, plot and setting and create a dramatic interpretation of the story. Assign roles to the group such as narrator, director, actor, etc. Allow time for rehearsing and reviewing pronunciation with students. When students perform their assigned story, ask the students in the "audience" to identify which story has been performed.

Extension Activities

Using Art as a Springboard for Other Types of Writing

Ask students to write a journal entry from the point of view of one of the people in the painting they selected for their Student Masterpieces Project. Collect the journal entries and read them aloud, asking the class to guess which character the journal entry was written by. Ask students to write a letter to one of the people in any of the paintings selected by students for their project. Read several of the letters aloud and ask students to write a response to that character.

Web Quest

Ask students to do some online research and write a brief bio on the artist they selected for their project. The biography should include the artist's native country, the time in which s/he painted, his/her painting style, and the names of some of his/her other paintings.

Community Activities

Student Masterpieces Bulletin Board

In this activity students will work collaboratively to create a display of the short stories they have written, the paintings that inspired them and biographies of the artists. Ask students to divide into one of the working groups of interest below.

Artists: Students draw or paint the paintings that inspired the short stories in this lesson.

Writers: Students write captions, titles, names of artists, the name of the course and the semester/cycle.

Designers: Students choose color and place pictures, artist biographies, and short stories on the bulletin board.