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.


Kindergarten - Visual Arts - Lesson 9 - Mother and Child Portraits


Look closely at a portrait of a mother and child.

Observe a work of art done in pastel crayons.


Slide of Mary Cassatt's In the Garden, 1893

Pictures of magazines or books of madonna and child portraits

Background for the Teacher

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was an American painter who lived most of her adult life in France. As a young woman, she studied in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. When she was able to get to Paris, she was disappointed to discover that the official academy, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, did not admit women. Her primary studies were constant visits to the Louvre. Somewhat nontraditional in her evolving painting style, Cassatt was not able to have her paintings accepted at the Salon, and was quite isolated until Degas became an admirer of her paintings and invited her to join a group of painters who called themselves the Independents. Eventually Cassatt gained recognition in Europe and the United States, especially for her paintings of mothers and children and of bathers. The influence of an 1890 show of Japanese wood-block prints in Paris is most obvious in her several series of prints (dry point and aquatint). She also worked in pastels on paper, which is the medium the children will see in the slide for this lesson.

Suggested Resource Books

Turner, Robyn Montana. Mary Cassatt. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992.

This is a part of a series the author is doing called "Portraits of Women Artists for Children," which contain reproductions of the artists' works, photographs, and recognition of the special difficulties encountered by women artists in the past. This one is not as good as the biography of O'Keeffe recommended for First Grade in November, and definitely not for reading aloud to kindergartners in its entirety; nevertheless, the format and reproductions are large and could very well be shown to the children, and it is a good resource book for the teacher.

Venezia, Mike. Mary Cassatt. Chicago: Childrens Press, ???

This is part of the series "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists" that we have recommended before. As always, the reproductions are large, clear, and show the development of the artist's particular style. The text is simpler than Turner's book above and could be read aloud.


Show the children the slide of In the Garden. Tell them the title, and ask what they see. (Accept any answers that indicate the child is really looking.) Ask if they think the two people in the picture are related. Why or why not? (same hair color, skin color, red cheeks and shape of mouth) Once they have established the fact that this is a mother and child, point out the way mother supports the child. Ask how old they think the child is (probably just under a year). Ask: If the child is so young, why do both mother and child look pretty much the same BCP DRAFT ART 26

Kindergarten - Visual Arts - Lesson 9 - Mother and Child Portraits

size in the picture? (Mother is "standing" the child on her lap.) Why do you think the mother and child aren't looking directly at us or at the artist? (They are thinking of something else; the artist wants to catch them just as they really are, not "posing" the way we usually do when we have our

pictures taken.) What do you think they are thinking about?

Where are the mother and child? (a garden) How can you tell? (lots of lovely flowers blooming all around them) Do you think they love each other? Why or why not?

Tell the children that this is really a portrait of the mother and child. Have them guess what the term portrait means and point out that nowadays we all take photographs of people, but that for hundreds and hundreds of years only artists made portraits of people so that others could see what the person looked like. Tell them this portrait was made by an American woman nearly one hundred years ago and that in this case she didn't use paint but a special kind of chalklike crayons made of ground color pigments (mixed with water and a binding medium) that we call pastels. Ask how they could tell that it was done long ago if you hadn't told them (the clothing of the mother and the child).

Ask: Do you think the child is a girl or boy? Why? Tell the children that at the time this portrait was made, both girls and boys wore clothes that looked like dresses when they were very little, and it is very hard to tell which this is. Tell them the portrait was made by an American artist who lived most of her grown-up life in France, which is a country in Europe. Have someone point out the continent of Europe to the rest of the class. Ask them which colors they see in this portrait and how the colors make them feel. Ask the children what they would guess about whether the child is quiet and especially well behaved or energetic and active.

Finally, ask the children whether they can think of other famous paintings or drawings of mothers and children. If they do not think of it on their own, show them some of the madonna and child illustrations you have brought in, and encourage them to talk about the differences they see between Cassatt's mother and child and those of the madonna and child.


Kindergarten - Visual Arts - Lesson 10 - Mother and Child Portraits 2


Look at a mother and child portrait by Picasso.

Observe the effect of paints used to resemble chalk.

Create a mother and child portrait within a geometric shape.


Slide of Pablo Picasso's Mother and Child, 1922

Slide of Mary Cassatt's In the Garden, 1893

Colored chalks, drawing paper, and black or brown crayons for each child

Patterns of circle, triangle, square, and rectangle cut from tagboard large enough to take up significant space on drawing paper

Recommended Books

Venezia, Mike. Picasso. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1988.

Another in the series "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists." This is simple enough to read aloud to kindergartners and beautifully illustrates in both words and choice of art works the main point about the wide variety of styles Picasso used during his artistic career.

Yenawine, Philip. Stories. New York: The Museum of Modern Art and Delacorte Press, 1991.

The spare text that accompanies each large reproduction asks wonderfully provocative questions about 20th-century paintings. Yanawine encourages the children to look carefully and tell what kind of story each art work might tell.


Show the children the slide of Cassatt's In the Garden, and review with the children some of the material you covered in Lesson 9 by asking them questions about the picture. Be sure that they are clear that it is really a portrait of a mother and child and that it is not a painting, but pastel on paper.

Next, show the slide of Picasso's Mother and Child. Tell the children that this was made about thirty years after the Cassatt picture by a famous painter named Pablo Picasso. Say: Picasso was born over a hundred years ago in Spain, which is on the continent of Europe (show Spain on the map). He lived for a long time in France, just as Mary Cassatt did, and he experimented all during his life with many, many different kinds of artworks.

Ask: What do you see in Picasso's painting? (mother and child) Tell them that this is really a portrait of Picasso's wife and first son, whose name was Paulo.

Ask: Do you think Picasso loved this boy Paulo? What makes you think so?

Do you think this little baby Paulo is comfortable on his mother's lap, or does he look as though he wants to get down and play? How can you tell?

Are most of the lines sharp and straight or curved and soft?

Where else do you see soft, curved lines in the painting besides the two figures? (leaves)

Do you think this mother loves her son a lot? Why?

Tell the children that in this painting of mother and child, Picasso made everything very


Kindergarten - Visual Arts - Lesson 10 - Mother and Child Portraits 2

simple. That means there are not a lot of details. Ask: Who can tell what details Picasso left out on the baby's shoes? On the leafy branches? On the fingers of the mother and the child?

Do you see lots of colors? What about these colors? How many are there? And what are they? Do they look like paint or chalk? (Picasso actually used oil paints, but he made it look just like colored chalk.)

Draw on the chalkboard a large triangle

with one sloping side, like this: