What do the names Leonardo and Michelangelo make you think? When I asked this same question to my children, the answer I received was “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. While growing up with the TMNT, I appreciate the answer, however at the same time I was saddened that children today do not generally learn about Art History. It is this revelation that had me so excited to be able to review a three-month subscription from HiGASFY Art History Video Series.
What is HIGASY?
HiGASFY Art History Video Series was created by Mrs. Beth. As a flight attendant, Mrs. Beth traveled all over the world. These experiences, as well as her love for art and history, helped her to create an art curriculum that she taught while a teacher at a college preparatory school. After retiring from both professions, Mrs. Beth published her curriculum into a video series that teaches children about famous artists.
So, what exactly does HiGASFY mean? Naming a company is hard. Mrs. Beth wanted to have a name that truly encompassed what her curriculum was about. She loved telling her students stories, and then telling them that they would have to come back next week to learn more. She would always say “Have I Got A Story For You”. Mrs. Beth used that phrase to name her curriculum by using the first letter of every word. HIGASFY was born, as was her sidekick Gasfy.
So, what is the HiGASFY Art History Video Series? It is a 16-week art history curriculum for grades 1-8. The lessons vary from videos that range about 20-30 minutes, art projects, critical thinking questions, writing, downloadable flash cards, free drawing, and worksheets about a specific artist from the time period.
There are 4 art eras’ to study. These era’s are the Renaissance, which focuses on Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael; Baroque, which focuses on Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Vermeer; Impressionist, which focuses on Monet, Pissarro, and Degas; and Post-Impressionist, which focuses on van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso.
How Did We Use It?
During our review period we worked through the Renaissance Art Era. I thought this would provide my children ages 11, 10, and 9 with a good foundation of art knowledge. We worked through 1-2 lessons a week. Some weeks, when we did not have as much going on, we were able to complete 3 lessons. This allowed us to nearly complete the entire Renaissance curriculum during our review period.
What Did We Think?
There are so many aspects to discuss about this curriculum.
The lesson guides are between 66 to 79 pages long. First, the lesson plans are detailed but are in a simple, easy-to use format. The lesson begins by showing the objectives that students should learn.
If the lesson requires a video, the video and length are shown. The videos are informative while still being entertaining to view. Mrs. Beth does a great job of narrating the stories and explaining the concepts so that my children could understand. One of their favorite things was learning about the Bubonic Plague and how it spread. They also loved learning about Leonardo da Vinci and how he wrote things backwards. They loved writing their own messages to view in the mirror. There might have been some sibling teasing occurring in their messages.
There were a multitude of suggested activities for a child to create, which allowed them the freedom to complete work that interests them. For example, in lesson 10 of the Renaissance curriculum, students could complete a piece of artwork in their journal, carve a sculpture out of Ivory soap, or color stones with markers for a rock garden. Each of my children chose a different activity to complete.
The critical thinking questions require the student to think in-depth about the material they have learned. I liked that there were really no right or wrong answers, because my children were able to answer without worrying, they didn’t do it correctly.
The cross-curricular activities were easy to incorporate. Things such as finding Italy on a map and using play dough to duplicate Michaelangelo’s Pieta helped solidify the learning that was to occur.
Each of the era’s follow a format. The unit contains videos and information about each of the three artists that is taught. This predictability makes it easy to plan and is great for children/teachers that like a routine.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching my children learn through this curriculum. They loved Gasfy, and was able to remember the name of the curriculum because Mrs. Beth always says “Hi, Gasfy!”. When I would say that it was time for art, my youngest would start dancing around screaming HiGASFY, and my daughter would say “Have I got a story for you?”. These little details made it more personable to them.
The HiGASFY Pinterest board was a great resource, as it gave us more direction and insight. We loved the Vitruvian Man activity that was found on the Renaissance board. It was extremely hands-on, and tied in with the lesson. I appreciated having these additional resources to use.
Overall, this was an amazing curriculum. After we finish the Renaissance era, we are going to begin studying the Baroque era and we absolutely cannot wait.
Want to Know More?
If you would like to see a video sample, click here.
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