Westlake High School Social Studies and Language Arts teachers are collaborating with the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) to develop a webinar focusing on literature and history using the museum’s permanent collection.
As a member of T.E.A.M. (Teachers and Educators at the Art Museum), Social Studies teacher Beth Noren has worked with the museum staff on other projects, including offering input for a web-based distance learning project focusing on “international Mindfulness” for an International Baccalaureate school in Toronto. She brought Julie Davidson and Ann Hasenorhl from the WHS English Department into the webinar project.
The teachers participated in a telephone conference in late spring with CMA’s Teaching and Learning staff to develop a general framework for the program, followed by a visit to the museum to meet the staff and flush out themes for the webinar. The team met over the summer to determine periods of history, works of literature and non-fiction, along with a selection of pieces from the museum’s collection, to include in the program.
Working through the theme “Identify,” the 30-minute webinar will be available on the CMA’s website and available to teachers across the country. The webinar will be an arts-integrated English-Language Arts teaching resource using images from the CMA’s collection to introduce large themes from literature, as well as specific novels and other works perennially taught in schools.
The project will include add-on modules for individual works of literature that end users (teachers) can choose from a list of options. The works of art are intended to draw out the students’ ability to relate them to the chosen theme and demonstrate their understanding of the literature being read in class by applying concepts from these sources to visual materials.