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Day 1: Creative Arts as a Tool for Character Development at The National Gallery
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When: Thursday, November 14, 2019
Where: The National Gallery
6th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia  20565
United States

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Target Audience

This event is for formal and informal creative arts teachers interested in character development.



Join us for a talk, tour, and collection engagement activity at The National Gallery. 

Art and The Soul
The Creative Arts as a Tool for Character Development:
A Day at the National Gallery

Throughout the centuries, Art has been regarded as the soul of humanity. Aristotle defines The Soul as both potentiality and actuality. It is alive and real. Art is that aspect of the human soul which both reflects and defines growth, potential, values, and form in human culture. It both reflects and shapes the soul of a culture.

Spend the day exploring the National Gallery of Art’s permanent collection as you learn strategies to encourage positive character development through the visual arts. In addition to touring highlights of the collection, this will be a hands-on day of discovery and learning how to better foster student engagement in exploring art as both a mirror of and shaper of societal ethical values. These are activities you will be able to take back to your teaching studios to help your students develop critical seeing, thinking, and listening skills, as well as practice in civility and making cross curricular connections. Tips for navigating difficult topics, building cross curricular units, and creative lesson planning using a wide variety of museum resources that are budget and time friendly will also be presented.

1. To encourage Visual Arts teachers to integrate ethical values into their current curriculum into order to foster student engagement, critical thinking, and civility skills, and practice in listening, observing and perceiving.
2. To provide teachers with simple strategies in employing the visual arts into a student driven conversation regarding ethical values as well encouraging cross curricular connections.
3. To introduce teachers to easily accessible resources that they can use to create a new lesson plan, rework an old lesson plan, or introduce a new cross curricular unit in an engaging and logistically feasible way.


About the presenter

Mary Ellen Carsley is an art educator at Severn School and a scientific and botanical illustrator. She has worked as an architect, and illustrated eight books and numerous articles for national and international journals. Her works have been in the collections of the National Building Museum and the Library of Congress.

See more about Mary Ellen and read her Teaching Philosophy here:





Tentative Agenda

10:00 - 10:30am  -  Logistical Introduction: Name Tags, Key Locations and Tools, Schedule of Day, What Brought You Here?

10:30-11:15am  -   Orientation and Highlights Tour

11:15-11:45am  -  Activity 1: Find Your Painting and Considering Its Big Questions

11:45-noon   -  Meet at classroom for share and reflection journal

12:15-1:00pm  -  Lunch

1:00-1:30pm  -  Activity 2: Who are They and Why do They Look Like That?

1:30-2:00pm  -  Activity 3: The Diptych, Two paintings, Two Cultures, Two Periods, Two Approaches, One Theme

2:00-2:15pm  -  Meet at classroom for share and reflection journal

2:15-3:00pm  -  Break

3:00-3:15pm  -  Activity 4: Brainstorming Lesson Plans Around a Work or Works

3:15-3:30pm  -  Share and Wrap Up


Meals Provided

Lunch from 12-1pm.



The National Gallery is located on The Mall, at
6th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20565

The National Gallery is easily accessible by public transit. Here is a link to The National Gallery's directions page:


Please see CSEE's Event Policy to learn more about cancellations and refunds.


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