Posted on 10/20/2015 at 01:43 PM by Liz Determan

Christopher Piehler in an article titled, Using Images to Keep Your Class Focused discusses how Dr. Lynell Burmark uses Robert Marzano’s strategy of comparing similarities and differences in art. When students are comparing two or more images, they learn about them faster and remember them for a longer period of time. Burmark explained, “This works equally well with images that are similar and images that — at first glance — have nothing in common. The brain delights in making connections, and it's the connections between the images that become the glue to stick both images together for the activity and in the students' long-term memory.” With this in mind, she created a “Brain Train” activity in which she continued to add an image to the one before.

In the “Brain Train” explained in this article, she began with Dancers Wearing Pink and Green by Degas and Roses in a Glass Vase by Manet. After students found all of the similarities and differences in these two paintings, she replaced the first image (Dancers) with Spring by Manet, in which a woman is holding a parasol. Students compared these two images. Finally, she replaced Roses with A Morning Walk by John Singer Sargent.

Students could compare Jackson Pollock paintings (Ocean Greyness) with one or more of Monet’s abstract paintings of water lilies. The Pollock could be replaced with Japanese Bridge 8 by Monet. The Water Lilies could be replaced with the Bridge of Sighs by John Singer.  

Once students understand the idea, they could create their own “Brain Train” using an app called Frametastic. They could also do this using PowerPoint. Once the rest of the class provided their similarities and differences, the students who chose the images can share their ideas. 


Piehler, C. (2015). Using images to keep your class focused. Retrieved from 

Monet, C. (1914 - 1917). Water Lilies. Retrieved from 

Monet, C. (1924). Japanese Bridge 8. Retrieved from 

Pollock, J. (1953). Ocean Greyness. Retrieved from 

Sargent, J.S. (n.d.). Bridge of Sighs. Retrieved from 

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