Critical Thinking and Writing 6-8: Analyzing Visual Art

Our Online Distance Learning Summer Programs provide 2-hour interactive sessions with our amazing instructors once or twice a week (depending on the course)!

More information on our live online distance learning can be found HERE.

Grades 6-8 – 2x per week – July (1.5 hours per lesson)

Image Credit:

This course develops students’ critical thinking and literacy skills through analyzing and writing about the role of visual art in societies, past and present.

Through a series of exciting, thematically organized virtual sessions, students will look closely and think deeply about at a wide range of thought-provoking classical and modern art.

Designed for junior-high students, this course refines skills essential for academic success, namely analytical, oral and written communication skills. Individualized and regular feedback will promote student growth.

Sample Lesson: Portraits and Self-Portraiture: From Durer to the Selfie

This lesson will introduce students to some of the most famous portraits in the history of art.  We will discuss the various functions that portraiture serves (to commemorate, to display likeness or personality, etc.) from the earliest Greek portrait to the contemporary “selfie.” The theme of self-identity will be addressed from the vantage point of historical, cultural and psychological theories to do with likeness, narcissism, social status, gender and race. Artists may include: Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Albrecht Dürer, Johannes Vermeer, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close, and Kim Kardashian.

Other Lessons May Address:

  • Still Lifes
  • Landscapes
  • Art and Poetry
  • Art and Controversy
  • Art and Advertising
  • The Museum Space

By means of engaging and creative activities suited to the virtual mode of delivery, this course will hone students’:

  • Critical writing
  • Reading comprehension and analysis
  • Communication skills (written and oral)
  • Vocabulary

Dr. Hyla Robicsek, the course instructor, is a published expert in the field of Art History with advanced degrees from the University of Toronto, the Courtauld Institute of Art and Johns Hopkins University. She is a passionate lecturer who, in addition to having taught at Brain Power for four years, has taught at universities in the United States, Europe and Canada. At present, she is a lecturer at the Ontario College of Art and Design where she is teaching “Global Visual and Material Culture” to a virtual class of 280 students.

For more information, contact Brain Power at or (905) 303-5457.

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