Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.

First Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 9 - Lines and Shapes


Identify different kinds of lines found in common shapes.

Discover ways in which an artist utilizes lines in a painting.



Examples of music paper or lined writing paper

Large tagboard chart with figures of square, triangle, trapezoid, parallelogram, rectangle, circle, semicircle, oval, pentagon, octagon, and hexagon clearly labeled as in example below

For Optional Activity:

Large print or poster of Cezanne landscape "Mt. Sainte Victoire" (slide #5 in plastic sleeve) if possible or of any other Cezanne landscape, large sheet of acetate, masking tape, and felt tip pens or indelible markers



Begin a discussion of line by asking the children where they see lines, both in nature and in man-made objects (telephone lines, equal signs, railroad tracks, ski trails, road signs). Show the students a sheet of music and/or regular lined writing paper and elicit the fact that these lines are straight and they are horizontal. (You may want to talk about horizon.) They are also parallel (all go in exactly the same direction; show on blackboard an = sign as another example of parallel lines). Ask the children to look around the room and find examples of straight horizontal lines (top and bottom of blackboard, ceiling, floor). Then follow the same procedure, first drawing each line on the blackboard, with the following:


First Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 9 - Line

Explore with the children some of the feelings that each line conveys, charting them on the board. (A few of the things that might come up are the excitement and energy of the diagonal and zigzag, the stability of the horizontal.)

Next, display the chart with labeled figures you have prepared, and ask the children to identify the lines in each figure. For example, in the triangle: diagonal line, horizontal line, and diagonal line, as you point to each line. Go through the process, pointing to each of the figures in turn. In the case of the semicircle, have them establish that there is one curved line and one straight line.

Suggested Books

hoban, tana. circles, triangles and squares. New York: Macmillan, 1974.

Striking black and white photographs with no text, showing the shapes discussed in this lesson as they are found in surprising places in the everyday world.

Optional Activity

Tracing with Acetate (adapted from Massey & Dart, Learning to Look).


Large color print of a landscape by Cezanne

Large sheet of acetate, masking tape, and felt tip pens or indelible markers


Have the children look at the large print of the Cezanne landscape. Tell them this is a painting by a Frenchman named Cezanne, painted more than a hundred years ago. Ask if anyone can guess what country a Frenchman comes from (France) and what continent France is part of (Europe). Ask if anyone could guess what kind of a painting this is (landscape), and talk a bit about why it is so called.

Use masking tape to attach the large sheet of acetate to the wall over the print of the Cezanne landscape. Tell the children that if they look carefully, they will be able to see many underlying lines (vertical, horizontal, diagonal, thick, thin, wavy, diagonal, spiral, curved) and shapes formed by those lines in the landscape. Have the children take turns coming up and tracing one or two lines or a shape made with several joined lines on the acetate. After everyone has done this, remove the acetate and have the children observe and comment on the types of lines/shapes the artist has used. See whether they are mostly straight or curved, geometric or freeform, moving or static. See what other observations are possible about the artist's use of line from this activity. If time permits, have the children look directly at the print itself, and review warm and cool, then primary and secondary colors with them. You might ask them which they think is more important in Cezanne's landscape, color or line. (Accept any answer that shows real observation.)


First Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 10 - Free-form Lines

(adapted from Paste, Pencils, Scissors & Crayons by Gene Baer)


Become familiar with using free-form lines.

Create a design using regular patterning and irregular lines.


Drawing paper, 9 x 12, for each child

Pencil and crayons for each child


Review with the children the observations made in Lesson 9 about the kinds of figures that can be made with vertical, horizontal, parallel, and diagonal lines. Briefly talk about the way the children found shapes composed of these kinds of lines in a landscape of Cézanne. Tell the children that today they are going to experiment with using some very different kinds of lines.

These lines are called free-form or irregular lines.

In order to have the children understand the idea of irregular lines, discuss with them the meaning of the word irregular. Ask: What do you think it means when someone says to you, "I want you to practice this regularly"? (every day, every week, every night) or, "In order to be healthy, you have to eat regularly"? (eat the same number of meals each day, eat at about the same time each day) If these two lines = , //, or [[ are regular lines, what do you think irregular lines might look like? (Ask for volunteers to draw some on the chalkboard.)

When you have passed out the materials, say: One time when you're likely to draw with irregular lines is when you make scribbles on a piece of paper. Lots of people scribble, or doodle, when they talk on the telephone.

Show the children the two kinds of scribbles shown here, and identify one as a tangled scribble and the other as an open scribble. Have the children experiment with one at a time as you walk around the room and make sure they understand the difference and can freely draw an open scribble.

Tell them that the activity they are going to do today starts with a large open scribble drawn with a pencil.



First Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 10 - Free-form Lines

Once they have all completed open scribbles, tell them to draw a few additional lines that result in bringing the lines to the edges of the paper and divide the whole paper into compartments.

Tell the children they will be using their crayons to make patterns in every compartment they can find in their design. Show them a few examples on the chalkboard of line patterns with characteristics quite different from one another. (See examples below.)

Encourage the children to use a different color, or at least a different shade, for each pattern they create, and to fill in every irregularly-shaped compartment they can find. When they have completed their drawings, have them outline the compartment boundaries with a strong black crayon.

Be sure to hang the drawings so the children can see them.


First Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 11 - Line in Painting


Look carefully at a twentieth-century American painting.

Observe how color can be used to show line.


Slide of Georgia O'Keeffe's Pink Tulip

Photographs or reproductions of other works by O'Keeffe; recent U.S. postage stamp of O'Keeffe's Red Poppy

Slides of representational paintings from earlier lessons for comparison

3 x 5 index cards with a hole punched for each child

Tempera or watercolor paints and newsprint paper for each child

Suggested Book

Venezia, Mike. Georgia O'Keeffe. Danbury, CT: Children's Press, 1993.

Venezia's book, like so many in this series, is excellent for very young children. It is strongly recommended for reading aloud and showing the large pictures of O'Keeffe's colorful works to the children as a way of presenting this lesson.

Background for Teacher

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) is one of the best known American artists of this century. Her paintings are a good way to introduce the children to paintings that move away from strictly representational images. She was married to American photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946). He promoted the work of several important American artists by showing their work in a gallery he opened in New York City, and O'Keeffe was one of the artists whose work was first shown in that way. She was active as an artist until the end of her very long life--she was ninety-eight when she died--both in terms of her own work and the influence she had on younger artists.


For this lesson, try first showing the slide of the O'Keeffe painting to the children without telling them any information about her or the painting. Ask: What do you see in this painting? (Answers will probably be very different. For example, someone might guess that there are green mountains in the background. The idea is to get the children to look hard and let their imaginations go, so try to get as many responses as possible without giving the idea that you're looking for one "right answer.") When all of the children who had ideas about the painting have had a chance to speak, tell them that the name of the painting is Pink Tulip and that it was painted by an American woman named Georgia O'Keeffe.

Tell the children that the painting is in the Baltimore Museum of Art and that if they go with their families to see it, they will find it takes up a lot of space on a wall--it measures 36" high and 30" wide. (Show them what those dimensions would look like by drawing them approximately on the chalkboard.) Ask them what they think would be the measurements of the tulips they've seen. (Again, someone might indicate the approximate size with chalk on the board for comparison.)


First Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 11 - Line in Painting

Ask: Why do you think O'Keeffe made this tulip so big that we can hardly recognize it?

(The children may guess a variety of reasons, any of which may indicate good thinking.

O'Keefe's answer would probably have been because she loved flowers and wanted people to look at them. If you have photographs of other O'Keeffe paintings of flowers

or the postage stamp of Red Poppy, this would be a good time to show the children how lovingly the artist paints flowers.)

Ask: What else makes it so hard to recognize the tulip? (We see just one part of the tulip. All the edges of the tulip are cut off by the edges of the painting.)

Ask: Which part of the tulip did O'Keeffe paint? (the innermost part)

What do you think about the colors?

How did she make the lines in her painting (with the shaping of the colors)

Ask: Where is the source of light in the painting? Where is the light coming from? (You might show the children slides from September lessons for comparison, so they can see that the light in those paintings is clearly coming in through a window. Any picture of a Vermeer painting would also be a good illustration of this point. If you have windows in your room and it is a sunny day, point out to the children how differently objects and people in the room are lit depending on whether the light falls on them or not. Try to help them realize that the light in O'Keeffe's painting seems to infuse the colors themselves, so that they all glow, rather than being lit by an outside source.

Ask: Do you like this painting? Why or why not?

Suggested Additional Resource Book

Turner, Robyn Montana. Georgia O'Keeffe. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.

This is a wonderful biography of O'Keeffe that contains reproductions of works that illustrate clearly specific stages in her stylistic development. The language and concepts are more appropriate to older children, but it is a good resource book for the teacher and would be of special interest to any child--especially female--who wants to be a painter.


Using the 3 x 5 cards with punched holes, have the children look at pictures hanging in the classroom, at each other, or at simple objects like shoes and then make a painting of just that part of what they see, without any attempt to add the outlines that would define it or make it easily recognizable.

Tell them not to title the paintings. When they have finished, hang the paintings around the room. Say: Look carefully at these paintings for the next few days, and see whether you can guess what each person has painted.

After a few days have passed, take a few minutes during the day to have the children tell you their guesses about the subjects of each painting and record their answers on the chalkboard.

It should be fun for the children to see how often the painter has to tell the rest what the actual subject is. You may want to put titles on the paintings after each subject has been identified.


First Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 11 - Line in Painting

Suggested Book for Activity

Hoban, Tana. Take Another Look. New York: Greenwillow, 1981.

This would be an excellent book to show to the children to get their imaginations going for the Activity above. There is no text, but large black and white photographs fill the pages, and each is preceded by a blank page with a circular cutout. This is nearly identical to what the children are asked to do.