Analyzing Art from a General Element of Style to a Specific Detail; Cultivating A Disposition for Becoming a Critical Thinker

Your prompt: In 6-8 sentences of Standard English, connect a nineteenth century American painting to a work of literature that we read this fall term. Explain how one element of style pervades both works and then illuminates a connection (comparison, juxtaposition, a relevant tie) between a specific detail from each work. Your prose will explicitly or implicitly exhibit how each detail supports that stylistic element.

This assignment will help us in many ways. We will be challenged to describe artistic works from a general category to a specific attribute. That is always a productive challenge in writing topics. We will also apply our recent study of elements of style and display mastery of a literary device. Though we are formally and deliberately explicating one device in this assignment, great students do this process naturally to all the terms that they study. Synthesizing intellectual trends and terms naturally and deliberately are essential ingredients for students. In fact, most A students naturally make these connections all the time when they leaf through their notes. Therefore, adopt this deliberate step into your thinking on a daily basis, as it will make you a more thoughtful contributor in class discussions and lead you to fuse ideas in a creative way in future essays. Furthermore, I think this assignment should exist for a few days on the edge of your consciousness. Though we have read our text at a college level and pace has been important in our endeavor, now is a time to reflect and an opportunity to develop some soft thinking skills. Guy Claxton is just one of many authors to write on this concept where great ideas come when we ruminate on a problem, challenge, or task like this; we should appreciate the time and allow the topic to percolate into all of our daily thoughts. Click on this link from college class in Texas (shout out to our student from Texas who asked a question about this process) about “tortoise thinking” (soft thinking) for more depth on this topic and the importance of this type of thinking.

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About Bill Sullivan

I am an English teacher working with great students at Suffield Academy. I also teach seniors in various project-based learning environments. Some of the #PBL topics included global issues, such as Pandemics, Climate Change, and Water; more recently I have asked students to research and identify topics important to our school community and their generation. We curate these topics with a #StudentCenteredPBL. For the past eleven years, I also created a driving question for a class to research a local history mystery and present their findings in a community program partnering with our local historical society. These topics encompass researching the lives of enslaved individuals who were contributors to the foundation of our community.
This entry was posted in 21st Century Learning, AP Mindset, Brain-Based Learning, Disposition of a Critical Thinker and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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