Looking Exercise

Step One

General questions that motivate observation and personal (or group) interpretation
What can you see?
Have you ever seen anything like it?
What is going on here?
What else do you see?

To encourage students to ground their comments in observation ask:
What do you see that makes you say that?
How is this the same/different from other things you have seen?

Step Two

Questions that extend the process of observing and interpreting
Can you tell what it is made from?
What makes you say that?
How do you think it might be used?

For figural works you may want to ask:
Who do we see here?
What can you guess about their life and/or personality?
What do they seem to be doing?
When is this happening? (What time of day or season of the year?)
What are they wearing?

For landscapes you may want to ask:
Where is this?
When is this? (What time of day or season of the year?) For both you may want to ask:
What about (point to a detail not yet discussed)? This asks students to pinpoint clothing, activities, gestures, expressions, etc., that might not have been noticed.

Step Three

Questions that lead to reflecting on observations
What makes you think/say that?
Is there anything else that makes you think that?
What can we learn from thinking about this?

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