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Webinars Help Teachers Connect Classic American Novels with Our Collection

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Webinars Help Teachers Connect Classic American Novels with Our Collection

The museum’s Teacher Resource Center is pleased to announce that its first webinar-based professional development session is now available. Explore teaching the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird through images in this arts-integrated Language Arts session. Dale Hilton, Director of Teaching and Learning, tells us about the session in this Q&A.

Lynching (Lynch Law), 1936. Louis Lozowick (American, 1892-1973). Lithograph; 26.2 x 18.6 cm. Gift of Lee Lozowick in memory of his father 1994.239

Q1: Why did the museum decide to develop a Webinar on this topic?

A: Teaching classic American novels can be enhanced with the support of visual imagery. We know that this is a novel that many teachers cover during the spring semester. Visual literacy and literacy are natural pairings because we are living in a media-saturated age where students are bombarded with images all day long. Education is moving in the direction of working with digital learning and we can use our collection to support arts integration into literature.

Q2: What do you think makes To Kill a Mockingbird an especially visual novel?
A: Reading the book just creates a world of sensation. The reader is immersed in the feelings of the American South. There are some many scenes and settings throughout the novel that pique the creative imagination. For example, we visualize the appearance of the tree with the hollow in it where Arthur “Boo” Radley hides gifts for Scout and Jem. You read about the scenes in the court house during the trial and you can “see” the people in the balcony. The idea is to imagine what the author Harper Lee saw as a little girl growing up so that students can understand that her ideas came from somewhere.

Q3: What types of works from the collection are used in the Webinar?

During the Webinar, we show and discuss Depression era photographs, sculptures, prints, and paintings inspired by people who would have lived at that time.

Q4: What do you hope participants gain from participating in the Webinar?

I hope it enhances the imaginations of students and helps them relate to environment that Harper Lee constructs.

Interested in signing up? Please call Dale at 216 707-2491 to arrange a presentation for you and your colleagues.

-- Kesha Williams

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