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Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons
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.
Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 9 - Line in Architecture
Learn the meaning of the term architecture.
Identify arches and lines in a building in Baltimore.
Any or all of the five slides used for previous art lessons
Slide of View of the Walters Art Gallery Renaissance Court
Pictures illustrating widely different examples of architectural beauty--perhaps ancient European
churches, simple adobe buildings, a Greek temple, a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or
other early twentieth-century architect, a Roman aqueduct, an old New England barn, and so on.
Isaacson, Philip M. Round Buildings, Square Buildings, & Buildings That Wiggle Like a Fish.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988. This is a wonderful book to borrow from the library or
somehow have in your classroom to help children begin to look at buildings with different eyes.
The text is spare and the many color photographs of buildings from all over the world were taken
by the author. Children in Baltimore have many examples of fine architecture from historical
periods they can visit and observe walking and riding in the city. Choosing any chapter from the
book to read to the children, and showing the pictures that illustrate it, will help them see the
beauty of architecture.
Ask: Can anyone tell the class what the word architecture means? After you have helped the children to reach a simple working definition of the term (strong structure to enclose space for a purpose), start showing the children some of the pictures you have collected and brought in. As you show each one, ask: Is this architecture? Why? Eventually, after they have seen things as different from each other as a bridge and a building, see whether you can enlarge the concept of architecture the children may have arrived at in the beginning.
Next, show the children as many of the slides of paintings they have seen for previous lessons as you wish. Ask: Is this architecture? Why not? Tell them that there seems to be a definite purpose for a work of architecture, or a problem to be solved. For example, a house gives shelter, a church allows many people to gather together in order to worship, an aqueduct brings water from a reservoir to people who need it. That's one way that architecture is different from a painting.
Ask the children whether they think they could go inside a painting. Why not? Help them to realize that architecture is three-dimensional (has height, width, and depth--or, has insides and outsides in addition to the vertical and horizontal lines we've talked about in paintings). You might want to remind them about the landscape paintings they have seen (Lessons 7 and 8 ) and the way the artist tries to make us think there are three dimensions in the painting (foreground, background, and middleground; larger objects look closer, little ones look farther away) but in
fact a painting is flat. It has no inside and outside the way a building or a bridge does.
Ask: What do you think an architect has to know in order to design a beautiful building or bridge? (mathematics, engineering, how to use tools, what kinds of building materials are strong and will last) If the children do not grasp these things, ask about experiences building structures in the sand in a playground or at the beach. Ask about building towers with Lego or other play materials for building. What made the tower fall or not? If the children have had some of the Core science lessons for this month, they may have some ideas about tools and simple machines that can add to the discussion.
Tell the children that architects use straight lines, curved lines, verticals, diagonals, in fact all of the kinds of lines you have looked at in paintings. Show the slide of the View of the Walters Art Gallery Renaissance Court. Tell them what and where it is, and that they can go and look at it any Saturday morning without paying an entrance fee if they arrive between 11 and 12.
Tell the children that this particular kind of architectural space is called a court, because it is a special open space surrounded with walls that have decorative openings and even something that makes it look open to the sky. What makes it look open to the sky? Tell them that in warm climates courtyards are built without any glass in the roof, because the space does not need to be protected from cold weather. Tell them that another thing an architect has to think about is what kind of climate the building is in.
Ask: What do you notice about the walls of this courtyard?
Are the openings round or pointed?
What supports the rounded arches?
What do you think about the colors in this courtyard and what are they?
Do they make you think about warm sunshine or cold winds?
Can you imagine dancing in this courtyard?
Can you imagine giving a play in this courtyard? What kind would it be?
What else would you like to do in this courtyard?
Tell the children that the courtyard they are looking at was modeled on a court designed by an Italian architect and built more than three hundred fifty years ago in Italy (locate on the map, and identify its continent as Europe).
Ask: Do you think this architecture is beautiful? Why or why not? Tell the children that you will read them one idea about how you can tell, written by a man who is an architect. He says that "all beautiful buildings, indeed all beautiful things, have a magical feeling about them. That feeling is called harmony. A building has harmony when everything about it--its shape, its wall, its windows and doors--seems just right. Each must be a perfect companion for the other. When each suits the other so well that they come to belong to one another, the building is a work of art. The person who plans such a building--who designs it--is an artist, sometimes a very great artist."(1)
Tell the children that during the next week you want them to take a walk around the
neighborhood where they live, pick one building to make a drawing of that they can
describe to the rest of the class, and tell what kinds of lines and decorations the building
has and why they especially like it. Find some time for the children to share these drawings,
even if it has to be outside of a formal art lesson.
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Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 9 - Line in Architecture
Optional Activity (2 dimensional)
Black and other dark colored crayons
Pages from the classified section of the newspaper
If the children enjoy looking at buildings with an architect's eye, you might want to build on the activity above by taking the class on a walk through a part of the city with an interesting variety of styles and periods of architecture. A few days before the walk, have the children bring in the classified section of the newspaper. Have them each take a dark crayon and make a heavy horizontal line parallel to the bottom of the page to mark the street. Another parallel horizontal line above it can mark the sidewalk on the far side of the street. The buildings will be drawn above that line, using the vertical column markers to guide the students in making their buildings straight and tall.
When you take the actual walk, have the children take only a dark crayon, the newspaper they have prepared, and a notebook to use as a hard surface to draw on. When you have located an interesting group of buildings for the children to draw have them spend some time sketching the buildings with the crayon, reminding them to pay attention to interesting shapes, straight or curved roofs, symbols over churches and other public buildings, unusual doorways and stairs. When you have returned to the classroom, let the children complete their architectural drawings with color, using either crayons or tempera.
Note: Working with newsprint over an extended period of time can get messy from the ink.
Make sure there is time for washing hands.
Another Optional Activity (3 dimensional)
A variety of small cardboard boxes of different shapes and sizes
Empty cardboard cylinders, such as tubes from paper rolls, oatmeal boxes
A variety of sizes of clean empty cans, tops and bottoms removed
Glue, tape, colored construction paper
Have the children choose some materials to make a building. It could be a house, a school, church, skyscraper, whatever they choose. Encourage them to use the colored paper for cutting out doors, windows, colored roofs, perhaps even flower boxes.
Discuss with them how it is different creating buildings in three dimensions--being able to observe the building from all sides, look down at it from the top, and even understand something about the shape of the space inside the building--from creating them in two dimensions, with a painting or drawing.
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Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 10
Review the concept of landscape painting.
Reinforce the concepts of foreground, background, and middle ground in landscapes.
Slide of Tung Pa's Landscape with a Lone Figure contemplating a Waterfall
Slide of Matisse's Large Cliff, Fish
Slide of Nicolino Calyo's A View of the Port of Baltimore
Picture postcards of views of Baltimore city from Tourism office
Ask the children who remembers what the term landscape painting means (Lesson 7).Review with them the fact that--although there could be people, animals, and other objects in a landscape painting--it is the land itself that is most important. Ask who remembers a landscape painting they have already looked at (Tung Pa's and Matisse's, see above) Remind the children that they have seen a landscape painting by a Chinese painter (locate country and continent on map) and by a French painter (locate country and continent on map). What about an American painter?
Say: Remember when you learned about the writing of the Constitution and the beginnings of the the United States as an independent country? For many years the leaders of the United States were so busy thinking out and organizing the rules that our country needed to live by and exploring new lands and preparing them for farming that hardly anyone had the time to study painting. Nor did most Americans have money to make or buy anything but the absolute necessities for living, like food, clothing, tables, and chairs. It seemed for a while that all the great painters lived and studied in Europe and Asia.
Gradually, some people in the United States began to travel around to paint portraits for families--mainly in the original thirteen states--who had enough money to pay for them and large enough houses to hang them in.
Who can tell us what a portrait is? (artistic representation of a particular person) Has anyone here ever had a portrait made? (Be sure that the children are not confused by the idea of a cartoon or the kind of exagerrated caricature drawings that are offered in malls.) Point out that nowadays many people have their portraits made with a snapshot or photograph. If a whole family is photographed, we call that a group portrait. A portrait can show us exactly what a particular person looks like at a particular time, and we can keep it forever. Before there were cameras for making photographs, the only way we could have a portrait was in a painting.
What do you think might be the hardest part of painting a portrait? (making the portrait look just like the person the artist is painting) If the children don't guess this, remind them that the reason people first wanted portraits of people they loved or admired is so they could forever remember them. If any of the children ask about the Miro portrait they saw in Lesson 3, say: Once we had cameras that could exactly reproduce what a person looked like, painters could begin to experiment with unusual colors, lines, and shapes in portraits, but before we had cameras, portrait painters were mainly thinking about making a portrait that looked as much like the person as possible.
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Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 10
Tell the children that when artists in the United States first began painting portraits, they were of famous leaders of the country. Who do you think had portraits painted? (George
Washington, revolutionary war leaders, writers of the Constitution) Eventually, many others wanted portraits of people in their families, and soon painters traveled around from place to place finding work painting portraits of people, then going on to the next place.
In Italy, in Europe (locate on map), there were painters who were trained to paint pictures of particular cities so that wealthy people who made trips to those cities could take home a souvenir of that place to remind them of just what it looked like. They were almost like the postcards that we have now (show examples if you have them), except that they were one of a kind. Can anyone tell the class what that means?
Say: Next, I'm going to show you a painting that was done by an American painter (1799-1884) who was born in Italy about the time the Constitution was written in the United States. He had traveled to many large cities in Europe and painted what people used to call "view paintings" of these cities for wealthy travelers. His name was Nicolino Calyo, and he traveled to the United States and became an American citizen.
Show the children the slide of A View of the Port of Baltimore without telling them the name of the painting, and ask if anyone can tell what it is a painting of? Ask whether they recognize any of the parts of the painting (Federal Hill, the inner harbor, Locust Point, work boats, anything the children might notice is acceptable). Then point out other things in the painting, such as the fact that there are no skyscrapers, a steamboat is entering the harbor which was named the Washington and provided daily service between Baltimore and Philadelphia, and the shot towers on the horizon.
Ask: Do you think this is a landscape painting?
Are you surprised at how crowded Baltimore was 160 years ago?
Does it have a clear foreground, middle ground, and background?
What did the painter put in the foreground? (a tree that looks biggest because it is closest)
What is in the middle ground? (Federal Hill, with the observatory and flag)
What about the background? (lots of houses that look small, some shot towers along the
What joins these three different parts of the painting? (the diagonal line of the water)
Tell the children that the painter, Mr. Calyo, came to Baltimore in 1834. A year later, he placed an advertisement in the newspaper as a way of getting some business for himself as a painter who specialized in these kinds of souvenirs, or "view paintings" that were landscapes of cities. Have the children look carefully at the painting as they brainstorm with you to make up an ad that would tell the things they think he might have said about the kind of painting he offered. Write it on the board as they make up the words. If it is short and simple enough, you might have the children copy it so that the papers could be hung in the classroom.
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Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 11 - American Landscape Painting
Review the definition of landscape painting.
Look carefully at a typical 19th-century American landscape painting.
Compare two 19th-century American landscape paintings.
Slide of Nicolino Calyo's A View of the Port of Baltimore, 1836
Slide of John Kensett's View on the Hudson, 1865
Cardboard toilet rolls for each child, or 4 x 6 index cards that can be rolled to form tubes
Crayons and paper for sketching
Briefly review with the children the term landscape painting (Lesson 7). Show the children the painting of the view of Baltimore that they looked at in Lesson 9, and have them recall some of the things you discussed about the painting. In particular, they will probably want to take the time to identify some of the familiar features of the painting, and you will want to point out to them again how like a photograph the painting is, aiming to exactly reproduce the appearance of the port of Balimore at that particular time.
Next, show the children the slide of View on the Hudson, and tell them to take a good, careful look. Say: Someone once described this painting as, "Absolute stillness surrounds a woman reading a book on the bank of the Hudson River."(2) Ask whether anyone sees the woman reading a book. (Probably no one will until she is pointed out as the tiny, tiny figure in the foreground just left of center.)
Ask: Why do you think we didn't notice her? (very, very tiny compared to other things)
What do you see in this landscape painting? (Accept any answers that indicate the child has looked carefully, such as clouds, river, mountains, sky)
Tell the children that this painting was done just thirty years after the one we saw of the port of Baltimore. Say: Let's get out our telescopes and look at each of these paintings, so we can see if there are differences when we compare them.
Distribute the cardboard tubes (or index cards to be rolled), show the first slide, and tell the children to look very carefully through their telescopes at different parts of the painting and tell you what they see. Write the name of the painting on the board and list the things as the children volunteer them. (They will probably notice many details of this painting, and you can list them all.) You may want to tell them that this particular kind of landscape is usually called a cityscape. Let them tell you the reason why.
Next, show them the slide of the Kensett painting and have them use their "telescopes" again
to look carefully from one side of the painting to the other, and from top to bottom as well. Ask
them to tell you particular things they see with their "telescopes," and write them on the board
on a list under the name of the painting. They will begin to see that, in this painting, they BCP
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Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 11 - American Landscape Painting
can't really see any more particular details with their "telescopes" than they can looking at the painting as a whole. In this landscape they will probably still see the river, mountains, clouds, and sky they see without their "telescopes."
Next, ask the children to look again at the two slides and tell you what kinds of lines and shapes they see. Turning to the Baltimore landscape (or cityscape), they will probably notice the strong vertical line of the tree in the foreground and the strong horizontal line of the rooftops. You may want to add those identifying lines to the list you have made on the board. In the Kensett landscape, there are several large and strong triangular shapes (the several mountains in the background, the dark hillside in the middleground) that the children can be led to see and then added to that list on the board.
Ask the children about background, foreground, and middleground in each picture and let them tell you what unites those three areas and draws our eyes deeply into both paintings (the water in each case). Ask: What kind of a line did the artists use to unite those three areas? (diagonal) Do you remember what kind of feeling a diagonal line creates? (strong movement)
Finally, ask the children to tell you something about the color of the water in each of the
paintings. Ask: What color is the Baltimore harbor? (medium blue) What about the color of
the water in the Kensett painting? (hazy, silvery, mysterious) Tell the children that the special
quality of color and light in the Kensett landscape makes the water the most important thing
in the painting. Tell them that the artist gave his painting the title View on the Hudson. Find
the Hudson River on a map of the United States. Tell the children that they can see how
important the Hudson River must have been in colonial times as a north and south waterway
in New York State (show on map). Tell them that at the time the painting was done the
Hudson River was also becoming a really important shipping route between the eastern
United States and the westward expansion because of the Erie Canal that was opened in 1825.
(adapted from Massey & Darst, Learning to Look)
Tell the children that many landscape painters insist on painting from nature; others would sketch from nature, then actually paint and finish their landscape paintings in their studios. You might want to discuss with the children the pros and cons of each method.
Then pass out crayons and drawing paper to each child and have them do a sketch for a landscape. If the weather permits, take them outdoors for this, with a book or notebook to provide a hard surface for each of them. Otherwise, have them look out the school window and sketch what they see. Remind them about foreground, background, and middleground:
Ask: Where will you put the foreground? (at the bottom of the page)
Where will you put the background? (at the top of the page)
What will you do to make the foreground look closer? (make things bigger, with more and clearer details)
How about making the background look far away? (make things smaller, with less detail)
How will you join foreground and background? (depending on the view, might be a fence, a sidewalk or path, a row of trees, anything that draws the eye into the depth of the picture)
Be sure and hang the finished drawings around the room.
1. Isaacson, Round Buildings..., pp. 8-9.
2. Outer Spaces: Landscape Paintings at the BMA, Teacher Packet prepared by Linda Andre, July, 1996, p. 25.