Learn from Home

Explore the Smithsonian American Art Museum's many online teaching resources and learning opportunities

A young student sitting at a desk works their way through printed activities from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

SEL TOOLKIT 1: ALL FEELINGS ARE WELCOME HERE

Slow down to connect with art and yourself. This journaling activity, reviewed by educators and an art therapist, invites you to use artwork as a way to connect with yourself. Identify your emotions; link your feelings, values, and thoughts and; consider ways that you might seek or offer support when needed.

Available in English and Spanish, ideal for ages 10 years and older.

Cover of Communicating Across Differences Toolkit PDF

SEL Toolkit 2: Communicating Across Differences

Some challenges can only be overcome in collaboration with others. Through guided journaling and artworks, practice communication, emotional regulation, identifying supportive connections, and speaking your mind. Tested by educators across the US as well as two DC-based art therapists.

Available in English and Spanish, ideal for ages 11 years and older.

Two teens sitting down and discussing something on a clip board

Additional Resources

Request free interactive videoconferences,
dynamic real-time discussions with SAAM presenters

Find digital teacher guides and resources

Access new distance learning lessons on "Seeking Community" and "Ecosystems & Food Webs"

Explore historycivil rights, and critical thinking 
through American art

Watch Re:Frame, an interdisciplinary video series 
featuring experts from across the Smithsonian

 

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Jacob Lawrence, The Library1960

Art to Go: Creativity Packets

Self-guided looking, writing, and drawing activities engage elementary and middle school aged students in creative and critical thinking. Explore artworks using routines from Harvard's Project Zero and connect with big ideas.

 

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Look, Talk, Play!

These activities help young learners build skills in literacy, creativity, and communication while using everyday materials and exploring interesting topics. A series of five, each activity uses objects from across the Smithsonian as a jumping-off point for learning through play as well as tips for caregivers.

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Mike Wilkins, Preamble1987

Smithsonian At-Home Activity Guides

"Summer Road Trip" is a 40-page activity guide that uses the vast collections and expertise of the Smithsonian to take learners on their own summer “road trip” of discovery. Through hands-on activities, puzzles and games, students will explore topics in STEM, history, and the arts.

“Winter at Home” is a 40-page activity guide that uses the vast collections and expertise of the Smithsonian to inspire K–8 learners, allowing them to see their homes and neighborhoods in new ways during the winter months. Chock-full of activities and stories, the guide will engage young minds with robust content in STEM, history, and the arts. 

A photograph of a woman in front of an artwork

Contemporary Artist Interviews

Use these videos of artists sharing insights about their work in SAAM's collection to spark discussion and inspire further inquiry. Watch thematic playlists on the following topics:

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Robert Ebendorf, Off the Street, On the Beach1992

Looking at Art: Five Ways to Engage

1) Spend one minute looking closely at this artwork. Touch every part with your eyes -- from top to bottom, left to right, and all around.

2) How would you describe this artwork to someone who isn't looking at it? 

3) This artwork is made up of various objects that the artist found while taking walks. Can you identify three different objects that are part of this artwork?

4) Fill in the blank:
"This artwork makes me think about_________."

5) If you could add an object to this artwork, what would you include?

Now that you've looked closely, learn more about this artwork.

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Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, State Names2000, oil, collage and mixed media on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Elizabeth Ann Dugan and museum purchase, 2004.28

SAAM on Smarthistory's "Seeing America" Project

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Alma Thomas, The Eclipse, 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1978.40.3

Archived Webinars for Teachers

A Woman's Place Is in the Curriculum: Women's History in American Art and Portraiture
A three-part webinar series facilitated by educators from SAAM and the National Portrait Gallery.

Social Studies Online with the Smithsonian
An online exploration into key social studies topics, featuring museum resources from the Smithsonian.

Easy PZ with the Smithsonian: How to Engage Your Students with Project Zero Thinking Routines

Smithsonian Estudios Sociales en Línea (en español)
Through close examination of works of American art, SAAM's acting chief curator and curator of Latinx art E. Carmen Ramos examines the questions "Whose stories do we tell and who tells them?" 

Get STEAMed: Art Conservation
An exploration of the STEAM-based classroom connections of art conservation, a blend of science, art, math, and history.