Call me old and old fashion… but I so much admire the painstaking effort, quality of craftsmanship and aesthetics of the “Vintage” Archaeological Excavation Records, of projects undertaken or supported by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Little gems… and future “works of art.” The pages in the top picture are from records of excavations that took place in ancient Corinth.
One of my favorite places in Greece, “The oldest and largest U.S. overseas research center, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) provides graduate students and scholars from affiliated North American colleges and universities a base for the advanced study of all aspects of Greek culture, from antiquity to the present day. ” It is worth exploring their site https://www.ascsa.edu.gr/
For an Archaeological Excavation Records PowerPoint, please… Check HERE!
The Archaeological Excavation Records from ASCSA inspired me to work on a student project for my Grade 6 Host Country Studies class on the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. The idea is to create a classroom record of Museum Antiquities with correct identification, description and drawings. I am still working on it… please stay tuned!
Inspired by the François Vase is a Grade 7 Activity my students enjoy doing!
François Vase is exhibited at the National Museum of Archaeology in Florence. It is “a large black-figure krater, a large vase in Ancient Greece believed to be used for watering down wine, from c. 570 BC. The design is fascinating and, if one looks carefully, you will find both the signature of the potter, Ergotimos and the painter, Kleitias. This krater is named the “François Vase” after the archaeologist who found it in 1844. ” https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-museums/maf-archeological-museum.html
The François Vase Activity
Instructions on what to do: During class, students are introduced to ancient Greek pottery, and more specifically the importance and characteristics of the François Vase. This Activity is based on the classroom lectures, student research on the subject, and ultimately student creativity and imagination. So, ……
The New World is an interesting Movie to start our American Art Journey in an entertaining, yet educational, way! “This cinematic masterpiece illustrates the adventures of explorer John Smith as he establishes the Jamestown Settlement in 1607. Smith and Native American princess Pocahontas discover their worlds are different yet their hearts beat the same for each other, while English settlers and Native Americans come to blows.” https://www.owlteacher.com/teach-with-movies-page-6.html
Jamestown Settlement Activity
We followed 3 steps for this Project: 1. We first saw the movie, The New World, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_World_(2005_film). 2. Then, students were asked to do some research, find and write down 10 Facts of Jamestown Settlement. 3. Finally, RWAP time! (RWAP stands for Research-Writing-Art-Project)
This Project covers at least 2 pages of the student RWAP Sketchbook or an A3 size Poster.
RWAP Instructions:A.Research – Coloured or B/W Photocopies of Artworks related to or inspired by Jamestown Settlement. Go to Google – Jamestown Colony – Pictures. Do not forget that correct identification for each picture is needed. B. Research – Writing – 6 Facts about Jamestown Settlement. Students already have 10 Facts from Step 2 of the Project. Review Facts, choose 6 of them, the BEST! and use them in their RWAP Sketchbook. Students are asked to not COPY/PASTE!!! and to write down BIBLIOGRAPHY! C. Art Activity and Project Title – There is so much on the Internet to get students inspired!!! BE CREATIVE! Do not forget a nice, artistic TITLE for the Project!!!
My Kindergarten Mythology Class started with the Myth of Ouranos and Gaia.
Created thousands of years ago, Greek Myths tell us epic stories, adventures of demigods, heroes, and monsters, tales of love, loyalty, betrayal, friendship, bravery… Greek Myths show that the gods, very much like ordinary humans, men and women alike, can be right or wrong, fail or succeed, love or be jealous. Greek Myths and the extraordinary deeds of their protagonists are to be found on everything, from ancient Greek pottery to temple decoration to stone statues, paintings, music, and poetry! Greek Myths offer my Kindergarten students a glimpse into the lives of the Ancient Greek people, their culture and art.
Lesson Plan Steps
My Classroom Lesson always starts with a warm welcome, a short sentence on what the Lesson will be about… “Imagine two powerful gods, one was Gaia/Earth, our planet, the other was Ouranos, the Sky above us… “and continues with the Myth.
My students love our next Activity… We go to the schoolyard, we lie down and “feel the earth”. Then we “look up and try to reach the sky”.
Finally, back in class, students are asked to do an Art Activity with different colored papers. Blue represents the sky, green the earth, yellow the sun and the stars, pink, red and lighter green, the plants and the flowers.
My Grade 6 Host Country Studies Class is on the History, Art and Culture of the city we live in, Thessaloniki, and our first RWAP (Research-Writing-Art-Project) is on the Prehistoric Pottery of Thessaloniki.
Archaeologists and Art Historians love Pottery! Even the smallest broken pieces, or sherds as they are called, indestructible as they have been for thousands of years, carry valuable information. They tell us how people lived, cooked, or stored their food, they show us ways of decoration and artistic expression. Pottery helps specialists date a site or relate an archaeological site to specific communities and groups of people. In other words, Pottery, humble as it might be, is of great value!
Prehistoric Pottery of Thessaloniki is a Topic and a Project that can be adapted for any Pottery period you explore in your class!
The Project should cover at least 2 pages in the student RWAP Sketchbook. RWAP stands for RESEARCH-WRITING-ART-PROJECT. I usually ask my students to buy an A4 Sketchbook and all RWAP Projects are done there. An alternative option is to use an A3 sized poster paper.
Each RWAP should include 4 parts: a. Title, b. Coloured or B/W copies of at least 2 artworks related to the topic of the Project, correctly identified, c. Writing, d. Art
For the Prehistoric Pottery of Thessaloniki Project, students are asked to:
a. Title: Think and then apply a representative Title for their Project
b. Research: Find photos of at least 2 Greek Prehistoric Potteries, photocopy them, and use them in their RWAP Sketchbook, correctly identified.
c. Writing: Answer the following questions: 1. Which is more important, the shape of the vase or the decoration? Why do you think so? 2. How were the details of the vases created: with paint or by some other means? Look closely and try to identify patterns in the decoration.
d. Art: Become a prehistoric pottery maker! There is so much to get you inspired!!! BE CREATIVE!
1st Day of the School Year and Grade 1 Host Country Studies students really worked… HARD! Our Bulletin Board is full of their “Art and Writing.”
I WAS PREPARED!!! I slept very little the night before (I always do!!!), I dressed up nicely, I genuinely smiled and I welcomed my students with an itinerary that was full, fun and educational. Introductions and summer reflections are not enough! Depending on what level I am teaching, I prepare an interesting, I hope, Student Day with Visuals and lots of Hands-on Activities. In a managed way, I try to let them “run the show.” I want to know their expectations, aspirations and goals for the year. 1st Day of the School Year is exhausting but so rewarding!!! https://www.edutopia.org/blog/only-1-first-day-school-lisa-mims
My Grade 1 students were divided into small groups of four. They were assigned to photocopies of “Pencils” to colour and write their names. When finished, they introduced themselves first to their group and then, in a big circle to the whole classroom. It proved to be a successful “ice braking” activity!
Renaissance Student Revisited is my new post. It is inspired by the 15th century Italian Renaissance painting of The Young Cicero Reading, a wonderful example ofa Renaissance Student engrossed in his studies!
BEST WISHES to all students, parents and teachers who are about to start a new and exciting academic adventure! May their trip be fruitful, productive and successful!
Some suggestions for Renaissance Student Revisited Activities
Discuss with students where and how Young Cicero is presented READING. Ask students to write a paragraph describing WHERE and HOW they like to READ a book.
This next Activity is for younger students. Use the provided Worksheet, and ask students to answer the recommended questions.
Ask students to pick up a favourite BOOK and then POSE like CICERO. Take their pictures and create a Renaissance StudentRevisited Bulletin Board Presentation with your students READING!
This is a Grade 6 Social Studies Activity. Ask students to create an A3 size poster on CICERO. The Poster should include a well-thought title, pictures of artworks depicting CICERO, and information about his life and work.
Step 1. Careful Observation – Students are asked to focus on the work of art projected on the screen. They are asked to look carefully and describe everything they see. The process should start with broad, open-ended questions like
What do you notice when you first look at the Minoan Pot? What else do you notice?
Questions should become more and more specific, such as:
Describe the pot’s shape. Where are its handles? Where is the wider part of the pot? Where is the narrower part? Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical? How is the pot decorated? What colours do you see? What patterns?
Step 2. Analysis – Students are asked to answer simple analytic questions that will deepen their understanding of the Ancient Greek Geometric Style Pot on view.
What might the figures on the top register of the pot be doing? How are the figures represented? Who might the figure on the top register and the centre of the vase be? Is it male or female? How is this figure different from the figures on the other side? What does the information the artist provided suggest about the identity of this figure? What might this pot have been used for? What clues can you get from its decoration? After each response, students are advised to always ask, “How do I know?” or “How can I tell?” so that they will look to the work of art for visual evidence to support their answers.
Step 3. Research – The teacher is asked to provide information on all discussed Ancient Greek Pots. Students should be given time to read and further research each pot. At the end of the research period, the teacher should be available to answer questions and further enhance student query.
The Ancient Greek Geometric Period (1100-800 BC) is characterized by monumental grave markers in the form of large vases decorated with geometricized patterns and motifs, funerary representations and burial rituals. These Geometric period vases are among the finest examples of ancient Greek pottery. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/14.130.14/
The François Vase is a unique example of ancient Greek pottery. An Attic Volute Krater, decorated in the black-figure style, dated about 570/560 BC, the François Vase was signed by its makers, “Ergotimos mepoiesen” and “Kleitias megraphsen”, meaning “Ergotimos made me” and “Kleitias painted me”. The vase presents over 200 mythological figures, many identified by inscriptions, representing a number of mythological stories. https://www.florenceinferno.com/the-francois-vase/
Made in Athens around 515 BC, the Euphronios Krater is a unique work of art. Signed by both the potter and the painter, the Krater is decorated with a Trojan War scene: the death of Sarpedon, son of Zeus. https://smarthistory.org/euphronios-krater/
Step 4. Interpretation – How to put together the Research, Analysis, and Observation students have done so far and reach a better understanding of the art object in focus. The truth is that there are no outright or wrong answers. The work students have done so far helps them better understand, and thus interpret the meaning of a work of art.
Some basic interpretation questions for this object might be: What does the size and elaborate decoration with 200 figures, many with identifying inscriptions, representing a number of mythological themes, tell us about the ways in which the ancient Greeks valued mythology? The Vase bears the inscriptions “Ergotimos mepoiesen” and “Kleitias megraphsen”, meaning “Ergotimos made me” and “Kleitias painted me”. What do the inscriptions tell us about the role of artists/craftsmen during antiquity?
Step 5. Critical Assessment and Response – It’s time to JUDGE how successful the work of art in focus is! This is an important part of the Learning Process and students are asked to answer the provided questions supporting their opinions based on their work is done so far. “Critical assessment involves questions of value.” For example:
Do you think this amphora is successful and well done? Why or why not? Do you like this work of art? How does it relate to your life and your culture?
For a PowerPoint on Learning from Ancient Greek Pottery… Click HERE!
For a student-friendly Activity Worksheet on Learning from Ancient Greek Pottery... Click HERE!
Among the many treasures exhibited in the British Museum is a set of 11 frescoes from the tomb of an Egyptian official called Nebamun who lived in the ancient city of Thebes during the 18th Dynasty circa 1325 BC. He was an educated man, a scribe, and an administrator in charge of grain collection for the Temple of Amun at Thebes. His Tomb, discovered in the Theban Necropolis, on the west bank of the Nile, present-day Luxor, was richly decorated with high-quality frescoes depicting scenes of Nebamun and his family engaging in everyday life activities like hunting, attending a banquet and overseeing a count of geese and cattle.
The British Museum frescoes of Nebamun’s Tomb were discovered back in 1820 by a young man called Yanni d’Athanasi, who was at the time working for Henry Salt, the British Consul-General and collector of Antiquities. The Tomb, its location unknown today, was probably badly destroyed by d’Athanasi’s team of tomb robbers. The frescoes, however, were sold to Henry Salt and then, in 1821, by Salt, to the British Museum. Since 2009, beautifully restored, the frescoes have been displayed in a new gallery at the British Museum.
This is the case with the Peale family of Philadelphia and the extraordinary Still Life Paintings they created during the early 18th century.
Food for thought: Why is Still Life painting so popular during periods of national growth and prosperity?
James Peale, younger brother of portrait painter Charles Wilson Peale, is one of the best American miniaturists of the Federal Era, and a fine artist of Still Life painting. As a young man, he enlisted (1776) in the Continental Army and fought in the battles of Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, Princeton, and Monmouth. Three years later, he resigned from his commission, and, in Philadelphia, he started a new career as an artist. James Peale is known for his large, oil portraits, his popularity, over 200, miniature portraits (watercolour on ivory) and his Still Life paintings. He was a popular and well-exhibited artist throughout his life. https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.6676.html
Still Life Painting has been a popular genre since antiquity. To quote: “A still life (also known by its French title, nature morte) painting is a piece that features an arrangement of inanimate objects as its subject.” From ancient Egypt to Greece, Rome, the Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism to the Present, Still Life painting evolved reflecting social conditions, changed from realism to abstraction, and never ceased to surprise us with its popularity. https://mymodernmet.com/what-is-still-life-painting-definition/
Post-Revolution… Still Life is a RWAP (Research Writing Art Project) for my Grade 8 class on American Art. For student work… click HERE!