Field Trips: In challenging times for school district, teacher brings lessons from museums to class

PIERCE TWP., Ohio - Teachers around the Tri-State use innovative and creative means to engage their students and instill a love of learning. With our "Field Trip" series, we head back to school for a lesson in what works in classrooms today.

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For Em Miller, art is more than an opportunity to express creativity; it is an exercise in critical thinking and evidential reasoning. Art is such an important part of learning, she integrated it into reading and writing lessons for her third-grade class with Visual Thinking Strategies.

“I’ve seen so much growth with the way they talk to each other,” she said.

Visual Thinking Strategies, or VTS, is a program developed by cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen and former Museum of Modern Art Director of Education Philip Yenawine. It stemmed from the question of whether or not people retain what they learn when visiting a museum.

The program is used in museums, colleges and universities and as a K-6 teaching method that uses sets of images to engage students in conversation and writing.

Teachers act as facilitators, presenting students with the images and asking three questions:

1. What’s going on in this picture?

2. What do you see that makes you say that?

3. What more can we find?

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