The Visual Arts lessons for K-2 were written in connection with an ongoing set of slides, generously contributed by the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Walters Art Gallery for the use of our pilot schools. This means that, although we followed the Core Knowledge Curriculum insofar as the topics we covered, the particular works of art the children viewed were not always the same as those named in the Core curriculum. As often as possible, we presented works of art by the same artists recommended by Core, but we were bound by the limitations of the two collections whose slides we used.
Ideally, we would like the children to be able to have large color reproductions of the recommended Core artworks hanging on the classroom walls, so they may be compared one with another and appreciated over a longer period of time than is possible with slides. With that goal in mind, the Visual Arts lessons for Grades 3-5 will be written following exactly the particular artworks recommended by the Core Knowledge monthly scope and sequence.
In the Fourth Grade, these recommended artworks often interconnect with History/Geography lessons for the year. This means that the students will be looking first at a few well known paintings important to the American History they will be studying. Following that, they will be looking at art from the Middle Ages -- from western Europe following the development of the Church and monasticism, then looking at Islamic art, architecture, and book arts. Medieval African art comes next, followed by medieval China.
In addition to giving basic Teacher Background for each artist whose works the students look at, we will suggest books that are useful for teachers and those that are suitable for the age of the students. These will be listed and annotated for individual lessons, and we always check to make sure that they are available in the Enoch Pratt system. Until we have a better solution, teachers will need to find reproductions in books and periodicals of the art works the students study. We will try to list books and page numbers where color reproductions can be found. Other useful materials for reproductions are catalogs from exhibitions, auctions, and businesses that sell art prints. These can be found at no cost at all if you look for them and ask friends and colleagues to save them for you. Often you can find old adult art books at tag sales or second hand book stores for very little money whose reproductions of art works are not out of date even though the text and condition of the book may be. These materials can be used again and again in the classroom for their color reproductions of paintings and sculpture.
Two relatively new books highly recommended for a school book budget are:
Beckett, Sister Wendy. The Story of Painting. London & New York: Dorling Kindersley in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1994.
Sister Wendy is known to many for her frequent, short spots on PBS television. Her book is eloquently written and provides excellent background material for anyone teaching art. She deals chronologically with the history of painting in Western Europe and to some extent in America as well. The color reproductions are large and excellent and can be easily shared with the students in the classroom. Side bars tie the art works in with the general history of the period and country of origin.
Massey, Sue J. And Diane W. Darst. Learning to Look. A Complete Art History & Appreciation Program for Grades K-8. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992.
This book, written expressly for children and their art teachers, is filled with questions to ask about specific paintings and includes both color reproductions and 48 slides of paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, most of which are part of the Core Knowledge Curriculum.
Fourth Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 1 - Review of Color
Review warm, cool, primary, and secondary colors.
Name the elements of art (review).
Complete an art activity combining color and design.
Chart paper, optional
White paper for painting, one per student
Tempera paints of different colors, including black and white
Shallow containers for mixing paints, several for each child
The students will have seen most of these books in earlier grades; here they can be browsed and/or easily read by 4th graders by way of reviewing concepts about color.
Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. New York: Scholastic,
________The Tiny Seed. New York: Scholastic, 1970.
Ehlert, Lois. Color Zoo. New York: Harper Collins, 1989.
Emberly, Edward. Green Says Go. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1968.
Jonas, Ann. Color Dance. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1989.
O'Neill, Mary. Hailstones and Halibut Bones. New York: Doubleday, 1961.
Westray, Kathleen. A Color Sampler. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1993.
Yenawine, Philip. Colors. New York: Delacorte Press, 1991.
Note for the Teacher
Material about warm, cool, primary, and secondary colors has been part of the Core visual arts curriculum beginning with Kindergarten, and the study of color was expanded in First through Third Grades. Similarly, the elements of art have been identified in lessons from First through Third Grades. Hopefully, even fourth graders who have not previously followed the Core Knowledge curriculum, will have been introduced to some of this material through other curricula. If not, you may have to supplement the September lessons, filling in with additional information and examples to illustrate some of the concepts. Since this first lesson is primarily about color, there are many simple books suitable for students to browse through themselves, with texts simple enough that they can read on their own.
Tell the class a little about the kinds of art they will be looking at in the coming months. Say: Once we have reviewed the elements of art in the first few lessons, you will find the art lessons supplement the things you are learning in History and Geography this year. That means that we will look at some American art from the Colonial period, several kinds of art from the Middle Ages in Western Europe, Islamic Europe and the Middle East, as well as medieval Africa and China. Today you need to help me make a list of the elements of art -- those things we look at especially when we look at artworks.
Give the students some hints if they need them so that they come up with the elements:
color, line, shape, texture, space and light. (They have also been briefly introduced to the concept of mass as it applies to three-dimensional works such as sculpture and architecture. You may want to add that to the list.) Brainstorm with them about each element so that you can jot a few descriptive words for each element on the list (e.g. for texture, the words might be rough, smooth, soft, hard, etc.; for line, horizontal, vertical, curved, wavy, zigzag etc.; for shape, circular, square, triangular etc.) If you prefer to have this posted in the classroom for the first few weeks of the year, the list with the elements and their descriptive words could be put on chart paper.
Next, draw the following chart on the board and ask: What colors do these letters stand for? (clockwise: yellow, green, blue, purple, red, and orange; you may want to write them out next to their respective circles) What do you notice about the circles? (3 smaller, 3 larger) What do the 3 larger have in common? (primary colors) Are those 3 also the warm colors? (no) What are the warm colors? (reds, oranges, yellows -- think of the sun, fire) What are the cool colors? (greens, blues, purples -- think of a lake, a mountain, leaves of a tree) What do the colors red, yellow, and blue have in common? (primary colors) What about purple, orange, and green? (secondary colors) What does that mean? (Secondary colors are produced by mixing two primary colors.) Ask: Who can put into words what the chart is telling us about the relationship between primary and secondary colors? (blue + yellow = green; yellow + red = orange; red + blue = purple) Be sure that the students can see what the chart is demonstrating: that, in each case, a secondary color is placed between the two primary colors that make up that secondary color.
Ask: How else can we make changes in a color? How could we lighten or darken it? (create different shades of a color -- add a bit of white to lighten the shade, a bit of black to darken the shade) Provide some examples for the class -- first producing a lighter shade of a color by adding white, then producing a darker shade by mixing color with just a bit of black. (Be sure they notice how little black is needed to produce a darker shade.) Tell the students that they are each going to choose three colors of paint plus black and white to use in a painting. Remind them that if two of the colors are primary colors, they will be able to produce a secondary color with them and that they can produce any number of shades by experimenting with adding small amounts of black or white to a color.
Pass out paper, shallow containers, and the paints to each student. Have them each draw lightly with pencil two large, simple objects side by side on the paper. It could be two large pieces of fruit, two outlines of faces in profile, two animals, two houses -- anything whose outlines are clear and simple. Circulate among the class, making sure that the objects are simple and large. Then tell them to draw three horizontal lines from edge to edge on their papers, so that each line passes through the two objects they have drawn and intersects with their outlines. Circulate around the room again to make sure the students have completed that much before going on.
Once the first steps have been completed, have the students observe that they have created many different sections in their drawings. They are to finish the art works by painting every section a different color or shade. If there is time when they have finished their paintings, you may want to brainstorm with them about the kinds of designs they have created with their careful use of various colors and shades.
Note: Have the children note their shadows and the shadows of buildings, people, etc. going to and from school for the next week so they can bring their observations to the next art lesson.
***Color wheel adapted from Gene Baer, Paste, Pencils, Scissors &
Crayons. West Nyack, NY.: Parker Publishing Company, 1979.
Fourth Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 2 - Light and Shadow
Investigate changes in shadows created by a shifting light source.
Observe differences between shadows out of doors and those inside the classroom.
Experiment with drawing shadows out of doors.
Text of "My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson, printed below
Stake, branch, or stick (at least 2 ft) with sharp tip
Rock about 4" in diameter
Drawing paper, 1 for each child
Suggested Books Strongly Recommended to Supplement the Lesson
Goor, Ron & Nancy. Shadows: Here, There, and Everywhere. New York: Crowell, 1981.
Gore, Sheila. My Shadow. New York: Doubleday, 1989.
Both of these books have excellent photographs that will help the students to understand more about the observations they will have made about their shadows.
Note to Teacher
According to the Core Knowledge curriculum, the students study simple optics in Third Grade science. You may want to look at the Third Grade Scope and Sequence for January to see what material you can build upon in this art lesson.
In order for this lesson to be most effective, you will need to take the students outside on a day with sunshine, so you may need to save it for a time when those conditions are easily met.
Start the lesson by taking the class outdoors on a sunny day with the materials listed above. (It might be helpful if each student brought along a notebook as a hard surface for drawing out of doors.) Put the stake into the ground in a way that the sun casts a very clear shadow. Observe with the students exactly where the shadow falls, and have someone mark that place with the rock. (You may want to have the student write the exact time in chalk on the rock.)
Find a comfortable place for everyone to sit down, then read or recite the Stevenson poem to the class. Many of the students will have studied the poem in First Grade. Those who remember it may want to join you in reciting the poem:
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
But what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.
He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me.
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home beside me and was fast asleep in bed.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Brainstorm with the students about the things that are going on in the poem, stanza by stanza; then have the class report the results of their shadow watching. For example, from the image that Stevenson creates in the first stanza, you might ask: Where do you think the source of light was if the child says "I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed."? Ask: Why did the child in Stevenson's poem say that his shadow had stayed in bed in the last stanza?
Encourage the students to talk about the reasons for shadows shortening and lengthening, and what they noticed about the differences between shadows outdoors and indoors. (It is possible that discernible shadows are produced in your classroom, for example, if you have fluorescent lighting.)
If you have been able to find either of the two Suggested Books above, this would be a good time to read and show them to the class. Be sure that the students have a clear idea of the way in which an opaque object (such as the stake you put in the ground or their bodies) out of doors blocks the rays of the sun. Ask: What problems do you think an artist who likes to work outdoors in nature would have drawing or painting? (shadows change position, size, colors change) When everyone has had a chance to respond, pass out drawing paper and crayon and have each child choose something to draw -- it could be a tree, a building, a person, a fence, that throws a very clear shadow. Tell them: In your drawings, I want to be able to see each shadow, how large it is, and at what angle it falls.
Circulate among the students and give assistance and encouragement with the project. When they have all finished, have them gather around the stake you have planted and ask: What has happened to the shadow that was falling on the rock when we put it in? How far away would the rock have to be placed to mark the shadow this time?
Suggest that some students may want to experiment over the weekend on a clear, sunny day, marking with a rock exactly where the shadow of a stick falls from hour to hour for as long as the light lasts. Ask: Would the shadows themselves get longer or shorter as the morning progressed? (shorter) What about as the afternoon progressed? (longer)
Tell them that painters who paint landscapes out of doors often insist on working on a certain painting only within a small window of time each day to be sure that the shadows and quality of light and color are as much the same as possible. Say to the class: From now on, when we look at paintings, don't forget to note what the artist is doing with light, shadows, and reflections.
Fourth Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 3 - Portrait of Paul Revere
Note to Teacher
This lesson should not be taught before the students have had American History Lesson 4 and Literature Lesson on Longfellow's Paul Revere's Ride.
Observe carefully a portrait of a famous American by an American painter.
Review the contribution of Paul Revere to the American Revolution.
Recall Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem about Paul Revere.
Hear that Paul Revere was a silversmith in colonial America.
Reproduction of John Singleton Copley's Paul Revere
Books with reproductions of Copley's painting Paul Revere
Cobblestone. Vol. 11, Number 6, June, 1990. "Paul Revere, Metalworker," pp. 12-15.
Good biographical reference for the teacher. Has full page black and white reproduction.
De la Croix, Horst, Richard G. Tansey, and Kiane Kirkpatrick. Gardner's Art Through the Ages, ninth ed., vol. II. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1991.
Color reproduction on p. 835.
Sullivan, Charles, ed. Imaginary Gardens: American Poetry and Art for Young People. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989.
Full page color reproduction on p. 61.
Other Suggested Books
Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.
An "I Can Read Book" illustrated with wonderful drawings by Arnold Lobel gives an authentic idea of what the experience was of a colonial New England minuteman.
Kalman, Bobbie. Colonial Crafts. New York: Crabtree, 1992.
Nice color photographs plus good explanation of the importance of the silversmith in colonial days. Students may be interested to know that, "In colonial times there were no banks in which people could put their silver coins. Instead of hiding the coins, people took them to a silversmith to be melted down into plates, spoons, and candlesticks, which were engraved so that people could identify them if they were stolen." (p. 21)
Background for Teacher
John Singleton Copley was born in 1738 in Boston, where his earliest portraits were painted. The most famous portrait painters of the time were those living in England who painted portraits of English aristocrats in the most elegant costumes possible, as a sign of their class standing. Copley was eager to study the methods of the English portraitists, which he did first through imported engravings. (An English mezzotint engraver named Peter Pelham settled in Boston in 1726 and eventually became Copley's stepfather. At the time, the main job of mezzotint engravers was making copies of famous paintings.)
By 1774, at the urging of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Benjamin West, Copley travelled to Europe and settled in England the following year. Copley spent the rest of his life in England and
was elected to the English Royal Academy, whose first president was Reynolds. Copley's paintings changed a great deal during the latter part of his life so that his Colonial realism became more adapted to the style of English portraiture. (Most people think that Copley's best portraits were the early ones done in America.) His Portrait of Paul Revere was painted between 1768 and 1770, before he left Boston. Copley died in 1815.
Show the students a color reproduction of the Copley painting and ask: What kind of a painting is this? (portrait) Does anyone know who the subject of the painting is? (Paul Revere) If no one knows, don't give the answer but ask the following questions: When do you think the subject of this portrait lived? (colonial times, 18th century, long ago) How can you tell? (clothing
more than anything else) Say: You have been studying the American Revolution in your history lessons this month, and that is exactly the time that this portrait was painted. From your studies, would you guess that the subject of this portrait is English or American? (Accept any observations the children may have. Again, the most obvious clue would be the simplicity of the clothing and of the hairstyle.)
Tell the students that the portrait was painted by an American painter named John Singleton Copley, and he painted it sometime between 1768 and 1770. Ask: Was that before, during, or just after the American Revolution? (shortly before) What clues does Copley give us about what the subject does to earn his living? (metal engraving tools, silver teapot) At this point, you may want to give the students another chance to guess the subject of the portrait. If you have access to biographical material about Paul Revere, read some of it to them.
They should know that Paul Revere was born into a family in which the father was an accomplished silversmith and a man who had immigrated to the Colonies to escape religious persecution in France. In order to learn to read and write, young Paul went to school until he was 14 years old, then became an apprentice to his father. Five years later, the elder Paul Revere died, and within two years after that, Paul took over the shop and practice. His younger brother Thomas became apprentice to Paul, who became the breadwinner of the family. Paul Revere learned to work in several metals -- silver, brass, pewter, as well as copper plates for printing. His shop turned out brass bells that were cast the way some sculpture is, the famous silver Liberty Bowl with its beautifully engraved message, and teapots such as the one Copley painted in Revere's portrait.
Next ask the students to look carefully at the portrait and tell you something about the element of texture in Copley's painting. Ask: What textures do you see in the painting? (leather pillow for working on the silver, metal, muslin fabric, leather vest, wooden table or workbench, silky hair and soft, glowing skin) Ask: What did Copley do to make all the wonderful folds of the shirt stand out? (painted the shadows where the light didn't fall)
What about reflections? Where do you see reflections in the portrait? (on the tabletop and in the teapot, where you see rectangles of light reflected and also some of the subject's fingers reflected)
What about the element of color in this portrait? Why do you think the painter chose such a dark color for the background? (The white shirt stands out brilliantly against it, as does Paul Revere's face with the rosy cheek.)
Finally, have them brainstorm with you about their impressions of Paul Revere from the poem they read by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. You might start the discussion by saying: Now that we've heard some information about Paul Revere's life, do you think the hero of Longfellow's poem sounds like the same man or a different one? When they have had a chance to express their ideas, say: I want you to think about the poem and then think about the discussion we've had about this portrait of Paul Revere that John Singleton Copley painted. Write a paragraph about Paul Revere that starts with the sentence:
I like the portrait that Copley painted of Paul Revere because
I like the picture of Paul Revere that Longfellow described in his poem because
Fourth Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 4 - Portraits
(some ideas and questions adapted from BMA Teacher Packet on Portraits)
Choose a well known person.
Explore biographical details about the person.
Create a portrait of the person.
Color reproduction of Copley's Portrait of Paul Revere from Lesson 3
Reproductions of portraits in books, see Suggested Books below
Magazines containing photographs of well known Americans
Pieces of 9 x 12" newsprint for each student
Tempera paints and brushes, crayons, and/or markers
Beckett, Sister Wendy. The Story of Painting. London & New York: Dorling Kindersley in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1994.
Examples of portraits throughout.
Clarkin, Maura A. National Gallery of Art Activity Book. New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Many examples of portraits from different periods included here.
Encyclopedia, if you have one in the classroom
Rice, Melanie & Chris. I Like Painting. New York: Warwick Press, 1989.
Combines examples of children's work with that of famous painters in various categories. Sections on Portraits, Family Portraits, and Painting People are particularly useful for this lesson.
Show the students the reproduction of the Copley Portrait of Paul Revere. Brainstorm with the children, taking this as an opportunity to review the elements of art as Copley used them in this portrait. Texture and color are especially important in this particular portrait. Remind the students of the way that Copley has given us biographical information in his portrait by including the tools of a metalworker in the painting.
Show the students any portraits you may have in books or magazines and discuss the role of clothing in painting a portrait. If you have some French or English portraits of the same period as the Paul Revere (18th century), point out again how different people look with "fancy" clothing or uniforms than with "everyday" clothing. Also, take a look at the way the painter has used light in each of the portraits. Have the students look again at the Copley portrait and ask: What special use of light has Copley given us? (reflections in teapot and on tabletop) Where is the light coming from in this portrait? (left side, in front of the subject) How can you tell? (reflections on the teapot, brightness of shirt, collar, hand, and cheek on that side) How else can we figure out where the light comes from? (observe where the shadows fall, then infer where the source of light must be)
Tell the students: You are each going to create a portrait of a person whom you really admire. It could be someone alive today, like a musician, a president or former president, a war hero, an actor or actress, your mother or father, a grandparent -- anyone you really look up to. It could also be an historical figure, someone you would find in a history book. Look through some of the magazines, books, and/or encyclopedias we have in the classroom for about ten minutes to find a photo of the person you've chosen. If you have chosen to do someone in your family, spend the time quietly thinking about the particular features and qualities of that person that you especially want to portray. Remember that you are not going to paint an "action" work. Rather, since this is a portrait, you will "pose" your subject, which means that you will choose the background, the setting that you think best reflects the character of the person you have chosen.
While the students are doing this, pass out paper and crayons, markers, and/or paint and brushes for each one. Have them return to their seats and ask some questions to get them started.
Ask how much of the person they want to showiest the head, the head and upper body as in the portrait of Paul Revere, or the whole body (show examples if you have them). Ask: What other decisions will you need to make about your portrait? (What kind of clothing, sitting or standing, whether frontal or in profile or three-quarter as Paul Revere is?) What about the background -- light or dark, plain or with something like a curtain or scene behind the person? What about the objects you might want to show to tell us some important things about the subject? What might they be? Where do you want the light to come from and how will you show that in your portrait?
When the portraits are finished, have the each student show his or hers to the rest of the class and ask them to guess who is the subject of the portrait. As each subject is identified, the artist may want to explain why they chose the particular person to portray and tell a little bit about what it is they most admire in their subject. When everyone has had a chance to share his or her portrait, have them write the names of their subjects on the portraits as well as their own and hang them in the classroom.