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David Ziskin

Superintendent of Schools

25 High Street

Fort Plain, NY 13339





Harry Hoag Elementary students channel Michelangelo during history activity

 Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512 and his work remains a focal point of Renaissance art. During a recent history unit on the Renaissance, Cheryl Toomey’s sixth grade students at Harry Hoag Elementary learned all about the painter and some of the other famous artists at the time.

But during the unit, Mrs. Toomey posed a question to her students: how difficult do you think it was for Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling by lying on his back? History

Instead of letting them answer, she charged the students with trying it.

“They got the idea that it wasn’t an easy job and it’s hard to create art when you’re in that position,” she said. “So, they taped a piece of paper under their desks and used crayons and colored pencil to create a piece of art.”

Mrs. Toomey said her students learned how during the Renaissance the artists mastered perspective (or how each painting had a background and foreground) and how painting evolved from ancient Egypt to the modern day. She said the lesson reinforced the concept that everything in history changes over time.

“They were excited about the project and it gave them a concept of how that painting would have been done. Kids don’t think of that unless you have them dive right in and experience it,” she said.