How Architectural History Can be Taught in the K-5 Classroom Using Picturebooks
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Architecture, and architectural history, is not typically a focus of art education in the K-5 classroom. In this study I aim to demonstrate how picturebooks can be used as a tool in the K-5 classroom to teach architectural history. This study was modeled after Sipe’s (2001) article Using Picturebooks to Teach Art History. I analysed eighty-six picturebooks based on a specific criteria, choosing books that have been: (1) published or republished in the past 20 years; (2) have a strong narrative quality in text; (3) allude to architecture and have architecture as part of the integral setting; and (4) are set at a K-5 reading level. I arranged the eighty-six books into four types: (1) Tours; (2) Building Practices/Principles; (3) Stories of Architects: Real, Child, or Animal; and (4) the Architecture of Houses and Homes. Within the Tour type, I found three subtypes called the “City Tour,” the “State/Country Tour,” and the “Cross-Country/World Tour” subtypes. I addressed each type and subtype, discussing themes that appeared. In talking about the themes and subtypes, I also address “what can be taught,” giving specific examples of how these themes and subtypes can be used in the classroom. In these sections I discuss the National Core Arts Standards (Standard, 2014) and the National English Language Arts Standards (“English Language Arts Standards,” 2018) that pertain to the subtypes and themes. Lastly I address representations of Medieval architecture in picturebooks. I address a specific time period within architectural history, and discuss what could be taught in the classroom using picturebooks as a resource. Using twelve picturebooks I looked at representations of churches; castles; other buildings; and building principles, practices, and concepts. In these sections I discuss what can be taught along with any inaccuracies and inconsistencies that appear in the picturebooks when compared to current scholarship on the subject.