Visual Thinking Strategies

For instructions on leading art gallery style conversations, please follow the guidelines below and watch the videos on the Visual Thinking Strategies Videos page.

This technique works across the entire curriculum, and causes many students to participate with improved critical thinking and observation skills.

  1. Allow time for quiet student observation.
  2. Do not divulge the title of the image until all student-lead discussion is exhausted.
  3. Your first question should be: “What is going on in this picture?”
  4. Followed by: “What do you see that makes you say that?” (Whenever an unsupported idea is made).
  5. Paraphrase while pointing to what they are talking about. There are no “wrong” answers.
  6. After a few comments have been discussed, divulge the title of the piece and (if applicable) the artist statement
  7. Ask: “What else do you see?”
  8. Once several comments have been made, try to link them to stimulate new observations and ideas.

Utilize any or all of the artist statements and questioning prompts attached to each contemporary Coast Salish image for further exploration.

As each image is discussed, remember that discovering Salish Design Elements (the use of Trigons, Crescents and Ovals) within the artwork is integral to a better understanding of contemporary Coast Salish art.


“What do you see?

Why do you say that?

What else do you see?”