Blog: MCA DNA

My ________ Book

By Lydia Ross

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The MCA brings the Common Core to life by offering fourth-through-sixth-grade students a chance to debate, discuss, and connect to works of art through multiple visits to the museum. Designed in alignment with English Language Arts Standards, the Multiple Visit Program (MVP) uses contemporary art to sharpen students’ critical and creative thinking skills and their abilities to engage in collaborative dialogue and inquiry. Repeat field trips enable students to develop a sense of confidence and agency within the museum. Multipart professional development equips participating teachers with strategies to prepare students for the field trips, assess learning in the galleries, and facilitate post-visit reflection.

MVP has evolved in exciting ways over its three-year existence. We were most excited to pilot My_______Book, a new student journal designed specifically for the program to capture students’ learning while providing a creative outlet. The journal contains writing and drawing prompts that encourage students to describe, analyze, and interpret artworks and ideas that emerge during their visits to the MCA, as well as formulate questions about art and their own understandings. During the 90-minute tour, MCA artist guides seamlessly blended conversation activities and writing prompts with opportunities for students to share with each other what they had written. Following the tour, students wrote letters to the museum asking questions, sharing reflections, and offering profound observations about their experience.

We are excited to share a sample of these journals (with transcriptions) and provide a window into the creative and critical imaginations of our newest art experts.

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      My World Of Imagination Book

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List everything that makes up a museum—all the parts!

Art
Bathrooms
Tabels
Words
Chars
Compason
Hopes
Dreams
Love
Wisdom
Creativady

Multiple Visit Program field trip, Theodore Herzl School of Excellence, May 03, 2016. Installation view of Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Apr 23–Sep 25, 2016 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

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If you had to give someone instructions for how to make this, what would you tell them?

  1. Come up with an idea
  2. Plan it out
  3. Sketch
  4. Draw
  5. Color/paint
  6. Advertise

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Multiple Visit Program field trip, Theodore Herzl School of Excellence, May 03, 2016. Installation view of Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Apr 23–Sep 25, 2016 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Dear MCA,

I had really enjoyed this visit because I was able to ask questions without people making fun of me. Well I don’t get made fun of it’s just that from that experience, I know that people have the same type of questions that I do, so know I am very comfortable about asking these questions that I used to think that people would think that I’m stupid or yea. Well, I very much thank you for this experience!

Multiple Visit Program field trip, Theodore Herzl School of Excellence, May 03, 2016. Installation view of Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Apr 23–Sep 25, 2016 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
 

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A photograph of a yellow page of a booklet

Dear MCA,

They say love is lovelier the second time around. It’s so true! The second visit to your museum was even better than visit one. We saw different art, and we thought and observed more. We saw an exhibit with a cactus and rocks and we talked about the curator and how or why they decided the layout of the exhibit. We also saw metal dresses, vinyl walls, and a store that was boarded up. I thought that every single piece was weird and unique.

I thought the cactus not being spiky and prickly was weird. The metal dress is a weird piece of clothing. Also, the curator to me is an artist in his/her own sense. They design the layout and decide where to place art and how to place so it pops. I had fun investigating and thinking and wondering more than just roaming around.

Our tour guide, Fontaine, was even better than Claire. I suppose our tour guide next visit will be good, too right? Also, why can’t the artists choose or design their layout? Why does the curator do it?

Multiple Visit Program field trip, Theodore Herzl School of Excellence, May 03, 2016. Installation view of Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Apr 23–Sep 25, 2016 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago