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Teaching News is Elementary


Program Content for November 21, 2014


Each week, this lesson will share some classroom activity ideas that use the newspaper or other NIE resources.  You are encouraged to modify this lesson to fit the needs of your students.  For example, some classrooms may be able to use this as a worksheet and others might need to ask and answer the questions in a class discussion. 

Please be sure to preview all NIE content before using it in your classroom to ensure it is appropriate for all of your students.

Materials you will need for this lesson: The Seattle Times e-Edition, computer or library resources for research

Article: “New museum collection puts the ‘west’ in Pacific Northwest”

Page: B5

Date: Thursday, November 20, 2014


Pre- Reading Discussion Questions: 


Look at the title and the images on page B5. What do you think it means for a museum collection to have a style of the west or Pacific Northwest? What museums have you seen? What did you enjoy about them? What do you think is happening in the painting?




Read the following quotes and determine the meaning of the word based on how it’s used in the sentence:


Just like the pioneers, the Tacoma Art Museum is reinventing itself. Well, OK, not exactly like the pioneers, but there is a sense of optimism, expansion and celebratory acquisitiveness within TAM’s freshly remodeled building.


(pioneers: people who help create or develop new ideas, methods, etc.)

(acquisitiveness: the strong desire to own more things)


 They spent many summers in the area, their three sons were born there, and they have been instrumental in the redevelopment of downtown Tacoma with monetary donations to the TAM, the Museum of Glass, LeMay: America’s Car Museum and the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus.


(very important in helping or causing something to happen or be done)


We are met with sweeping vistas of mountains and river valleys, scenes of cowboys and their horses, and idealized images of Native Americans.

(large and beautiful views of an area of land or water)


Journal Writing Prompts: 


“These questions are, in part, prompted by the makeup of the Haub Collection, which, overall, evokes the open, rugged ambience of big sky country or the Southwest, rather than the deep greens, blues and mists of Puget Sound.”


Review the above description of “big sky country” (the West), the Southwest, and the Puget Sound. Select one area of the country to write a descriptive paragraph about. Based on where you may have visited, what you have seen in movies and on TV, and what you have read, describe the area, appealing to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) if possible. Why would you like to or not like to visit this part of the country?



Discussion Questions:


Review the excerpt and discuss the following questions:


“But do contemporary residents of this region think of themselves as living in the American West or in the Great Pacific Northwest? Do residents of Eastern Washington and rural areas feel more connected to that larger regional identity? How does Tacoma, with its industrial past, fit in?”


What parts of the United States make up the West? What parts make up the Pacific Northwest? What ideas and images do you associate with the West and the Pacific Northwest? Which region do you feel connected to? Create a map which shows the West and Pacific Northwest regions.


Small group discussion and activity: 


“Within the 133 works currently on view, there’s a heavy emphasis on landscapes, portraits, and animal and genre scenes (scenes of everyday life). We are met with sweeping vistas of mountain and river valleys, scenes of cowboys and their horses, and idealized images of Native Americans.”


Discuss in a group the difference between landscape, portrait, animal and genre scenes. Then look up the definitions. Which paintings have you seen in museums or in books which are examples of these styles? Research examples of these styles and share them with the class. Which style is your favorite? Why?



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