Intern Project: Introduction to Me & My World

Me & My World is an hour-long education program for first graders. We offer it as a docent-guided tour as well as a Go van Gogh classroom experience. Both programs introduce students to artwork in our collection with:

Both programs give the first-graders an opportunity to create artwork to take home with them at the end of the museum visit or school day. The overall goal is to assist the students in looking carefully at various works of art and making personal connections to them.  Because the settings are different (Museum galleries vs. school classroom) the experiences with works of art vary. Here is an example for Mary Cassatt’s Sleepy Baby from Go van Gogh:

Sleepy Baby, Mary Cassatt c. 1910, pastel on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Clues: a piece of a pink blanket, a pacifier, and the arm gesture of rocking a baby

After a conversation about the mother and baby (“Have you ever held a baby? Do you have a baby brother or sister at home? Have you ever sat on someone’s lap? How did it feel?”) a brief poem is read aloud to the class:

Human Pillow
By Sondra Falck

A sleepy head lay yawning,
Quietly on my chest,
His little legs were tired,
Needing a bit of rest.

Little boy, face filled with dreams,
Of all he planned to do,
Games to play and trees to climb,
Before this day was through.

 Busy dreamer, sound asleep,
Had to find the softest lap,
To be his human pillow,
So he could take a nap.

As a class, we discuss connections between the poem and the work of art. Then, we create a poem of our own, by asking the students to finish the sentence “Babies are ___”. When completed, it will look something like this: 

Babies are _soft_.
Babies are ­­­_sweet_.
Babies are _loud_.
Babies are _smelly_.
Babies are _squishy_.
Babies are _sleepy_.

Here is an example of Romare Beardon’s Soul Three from the Docent Tour:

Soul Three, Romare Bearden, 1968, paper and fabric collage on board, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund

Soul Three, Romare Bearden, 1968, paper and fabric collage on board, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund

 

Clues: Detail of cloth from the collage, a foot tapping, and a tambourine

There are two themes that can be brought up during this conversation: one highlights what the students see in the painting (patterns, shapes, colors, figures) and the other explores the relationship of the people and the activity that they are participating in.

After this conversation, the students are encouraged to create a story about these three friends by considering the following prompts:

  • Give each of the gentlemen and the lady a name.
  • How did they meet each other?
  • What kind of music do they like to play?
  • Where are they playing their music?
  • Who is listening to them play? Are there other people around?
  • What happens when they stop playing their music?

The activity encourages the students to pose like one of the figures in the work of art and then choose one part of their body to move when the docent claps out a rhythm. Since we love working with children of all ages, we have decided to revise both of the Me &  My World programs as our McDermott Intern Project. We are still in the brainstorming stage, and we would love your help!

What are some of your favorite works of art from the DMA collection to use with young visitors? Has our collection inspired any fun activites that you use with your students? Tell us in the comments!

Jessica Kennedy & Hannah Burney
McDermott Interns for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

4 Responses to “Intern Project: Introduction to Me & My World”


  1. 1 Shannon Karol January 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I’m really looking forward to seeing how this revision shapes up, Hannah and Jessica! One of my favorite stops from the existing Me and My World tour is “Five Boys on a Wall.” It’s always fun to talk with 1st graders about what they like to do with their friends.


  1. 1 Intern Project: Artworks for Me & My World « Dallas Museum of Art Educator Blog Trackback on February 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm
  2. 2 Me & My World: Testing in the Galleries « Dallas Museum of Art Educator Blog Trackback on March 6, 2012 at 7:21 am
  3. 3 “Ghost” Post: A Farewell to the DMA « Dallas Museum of Art Educator Blog Trackback on April 13, 2012 at 7:02 am
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