As I process what I have just studied on visual thinking strategies, I keep going back to the basic ideas:
1) visual thinking skills are similar to the ELA (comprehension) thinking skills
2) art is a good place to start to teach and practice using thinking skills because it is visual and because it can make abstract concepts more concrete
I just moved from teaching to first grade to kindergarten. It has been so enlightening to see how important visuals are. It is truly our first form of communication, but is seldom taught.
When students come to me, holding a pencil or crayon is still new to them. They are also learning how to form letters. My students are pre-literate' in art and in literacy. I think it would be so neat to design a unit of studying lines at the beginning of the year. The way we make lines can be a scribble, or they could write out letter sounds. Along the unit, we would be able to stop and discuss how to make lines darker by pressing harder. We could learn when it is appropriate to press harder. We could learn about the sticks and curves it takes to write the alphabet. We could practice making zig-zags, dots, and patterns- all the while discussing and building a community of little learners who would also be finding that there are many ways to come to an answer...and this is just with lines!
With age-appropriate practice, I am sure that students would move onto Stage II quickly and, therefore; also grow stages in reading and literacy skills. Students need the guidance and the time to practice using thinking skills. They could begin by evaluating images. The thinking strategies would be natural by the time they were getting into books and becoming authors themselves. The children who were responding to the art in the video, could easily make the connection to evaluating stories, science, and math the same way.
I LOVED your link about the kindergarten integration. I bookmarked it to use with some of my Kindergarten lessons next year. I am a teacher librarian and it's often hard to find lessons (especially at the beginning of the year) that are more than just reading to the kids and having them listen. While listening to stories is an important skill - I feel it reinforces the story to have them interact with it. I am not the most creative person in the world and this has given me several idea. BESIDES - kids this age LOVE art even if you don't call it that. As they said in the materials we read, it gives them essential skills that they can then use cross-curriculum. *An added bonus is that the kids will love coming to the library if they can find ways to get messy even there! ;)*