The Viewfinders Program is a school partnership program active in many elementary schools throughout the city of Indianapolis. Through Viewfinders, Newfields trains classroom teachers to utilize Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a teaching technique that gives students the opportunity to share their ideas, build new perspectives, and learn to disagree respectfully – all while looking at and talking about works of art.
The Viewfinders Program uses VTS because it is a research-based teaching method that has been shown to improve the critical thinking and language skills of students who consistently participate in these open-ended discussions. Though the discussion is about a work of art, the skills that students develop as they make observations and support their ideas with evidence are relevant in all subject areas. VTS can be easy to learn and offers teachers a proven strategy to meet the current demands of the classroom. Find out more about Visual Thinking Strategies.
The Viewfinders Program provides teachers with professional development throughout the school year with workshops and in-class coaching. Teachers facilitate a number of VTS lessons with students using carefully selected artworks. These lessons help students develop their looking, thinking, and communication skills while exposing them to a wide variety of artworks. The final component of the program provides students the opportunity to visit The IMA at Newfields in the spring to exercise their new skills in front of real works of art.
The Viewfinders Program meets many existing Indiana Academic Standards.
For more information about the Viewfinders program, contact the Coordinator of School and Group Services.
Booking Your Viewfinders Field Trip
The spring field trip visit to Newfields is the capstone experience for the Viewfinders Program. These specially designed field trips offer students the opportunity to visit the museum as a class and practice VTS in front of real works of art. Separate field trip experiences are designed for each grade level since some students may visit year after year. Find your grade level below for more information about your field trip. Spring field trip dates fill quickly and are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please note that all field trip requests must be made no less than three weeks in advance. Field trips can be scheduled beginning at 10 am Tuesday through Thursday, and 11 am on Fridays.
KINDERGARTEN: FIRST LOOK AT ART (45 minutes)
The First Look at Art tour serves as an introduction to the museum space. As students explore the museum, they will see examples of different kinds of artworks and compare different styles that artists use to create art.
GRADE 1: ART BASICS (45 minutes)
The Art Basics tour exposes students to a wide variety of artworks and art concepts. In addition to practicing their VTS skills, students may also be asked to think about how artists use different techniques to communicate their ideas.
GRADE 2: FOCUS ON FACES (45 minutes)
The Focus on Faces tour highlights the ways in which artists represent faces in a variety of art forms (portraits, sculpture, masks, etc.). In addition to practicing their VTS skills, students may also analyze how faces are used to show emotions, tell stories, and illustrate different ideas.
GRADE 3: VIEWFINDERS YEAR 1 (90 minutes)
During the Viewfinders Year 1 tour students will spend half of their time touring the galleries and having VTS discussions. The other half of the field trip visit is dedicated to making artwork in The IMA at Newfields' studio classrooms. Students experiment with new materials as they complete a souvenir artwork in the form of a Watercolor Postcard.
GRADE 4: VIEWFINDERS YEAR 2 (90 minutes)
During the Viewfinders Year 2 tour students will spend half of their time touring the galleries and having VTS discussions. The other half of the field trip visit is dedicated to making artwork in The IMA at Newfields' studio classrooms. Students explore the possibilities of paper as they complete a 2-dimensional Paper Place.
GRADE 5: VIEWFINDERS YEAR 3 (90 minutes)
During the Viewfinders Year 3 tour students will spend half of their time touring the galleries and having VTS discussions. The other half of the field trip visit is dedicated to making artwork in The IMA at Newfields' studio classrooms. Students think about how things change as they illustrate and compose a Transition Book
To schedule a field trip, group leaders should complete the K-12 Tour Request Form. Questions should be directed to Allie Combs, Coordinator of School and Group Services, 317-920-2679.