Critical Thinking: What is Art?

A note to my grade 9 students:  I'm writing this to you on Sunday morning because I'm a geek.  I'm also doing this to avoid other things I'm supposed to be doing, like folding my laundry.

...gotta love Snapchat

I'm learning about something called critical thinking, which is really interesting to geeky people like me.  Today, you're going to use a bit of critical thinking to help you question what you're going to see and hear.  After you watch the two short videos, you will form an opinion based on your new knowledge.  Don't worry:  it's easy and fun.  Time to get your geek on.

Your first video is made by McHooots, and I found myself totally enjoying his sense of humour, even though I didn't think I would.  

When we think critically, we want to go beyond simply watching a video or reading text.  Critical thinking helps us understand what we're watching & reading.

I have a few questions to help you think about what you just watched.  If you like, you can watch it again while you answer your questions.  You can work with a partner, especially if you talk about your ideas (if you don't agree, make sure to record all of your responses/ideas!).

  1. Who do you think this video is made for?  How did you make this decision?
  2. Who might disagree with what McHooots said in the video?  Why would they disagree?

Once you have recorded your answers, it's time to watch the next video, "I Could Do That":

Have you ever looked at an artwork and thought, "I could do that!"?  I know I have... which makes you wonder why an art gallery, who hires some really smart people, would choose to display such a simple artwork.  Hmm.

So let's think about this.  When we're introduced to new works of art, is there more than meets the eye?  Is it possible to appreciate art that we don't enjoy looking at?

Please answer the following questions (with or without a friend's help):

  1. When this video was created, who do you think they felt should watch it?  Why?
  2. In what ways was this video similar to the first video?  How was it different? 
  3. If you were asked to share a video that was made to change someone's mind about the meaning of art, which one would you choose?  Why?

I really can't wait to hear what you think about these videos.  Your opinions matter to me, because it's important that we become more aware of how we interact with media, whether we're reading books and articles, or we're watching videos or looking at advertisements on TV.  

Don't take anything for granted.  Question what you're reading.  Question what you're watching.  Consider this:  what isn't being shared with you?  ...and why not?


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