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Compare and Connect: How does work influence a person’s identity? (Ready to Go Resource)

Ready-to-go resources are short, flexible learning activities that center art as texts. In “Compare and Connect” students use a guiding question to compare works of art within the context of a shared theme and produce brief writing examples.

Amberg's Jim Smyre and Family Planting Tobacco and Bellows' Dock Builders

Guiding Question: How does work influence a person’s identity?

Featuring Rob Amberg’s Jim Smyre and Family Planting Tobacco and George Bellows’ Dock Builders

Make your own copy! Check the slide notes for the teacher’s guide.

Total Activity Pacing: 30 minutes, across two days

Slide Pacing: 1 minute

Grades: 3-5


Activity Overview:

  • In this Compare and Connect activity, students will analyze a photograph and painting that feature two different types of work. Through discussion and writing, students will compare how work influences the lives of the subjects in the artworks. The artworks will serve as inspiration for grade level ELA writing work, as students write narratives/poetry using descriptive details.
  • In Day One: Discuss, students will look at the paintings, identify the types of work shown in each and discuss how it might impact the subjects’ lives. They will also share with a partner about the type of work they can see themselves doing as an adult.
  • In Day Two: Write, students will write a narrative or poem from the perspective of one of the workers in the artworks.