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 - Overview

The study of art in Kindergarten should include doing as well as seeing. Although we have written approximately two formal lessons for visual arts each month, we provide ample opportunities for drawing, cutting, pasting, and similar projects in combination with lessons in other subjects.

In writing the formal lessons, we follow the sequence recommended by the Core Knowledge Foundation. For example, our lessons for the month of September are designed to introduce Kindergarten children to an awareness and recognition of warm and cool colors. These two lessons may be taught on two successive days or two days far apart from one another. However, the order of the lessons is important throughout the year. The lessons are sequential, and build upon one another.

Since we cannot presume that any of our schools has a ready collection of good reproductions, we have written the lessons based on a group of art works owned by either the Walters Art Gallery or the Baltimore Museum of Art. We are grateful that each of our participating schools has slides of the particular artworks as a donation from the two museums. It is our hope that the children will be stimulated to want to see the original works of art they have been studying. This might take the form of a class trip, or it could be done within the family or with friends over weekends or vacation times. In this way, the lessons have been created specifically with the children of Baltimore City in mind.

You will find that the visual arts lessons often incorporate information that informs American or World Civilization. For example, in November the art lessons are built around some Native American masks that are part of the collection at the BMA. Through these materials, the teacher is free to devote as much time as is available to the study of Native American art, history, and culture, which is an important part of the American Civilization Core Knowledge sequence for Kindergarten. In this way we think the arts can cut through time limitations built into a rigorous schedule of skill-building.


Kindergarten - Visual Arts - Lesson 1


Identify warm and cool colors.


Tempera paints in warm (red, yellow, orange) and cool (blue, green, purple) colors


Two large sheets of paper

Six containers for the different paint colors (aluminum pie tin or plastic plate)


Discuss with the children what it means to be a friend. Tell them that they have made many new friends in kindergarten and to celebrate their new friendships they are going to make friendship wreaths.

Make two friendship wreaths with your class: one in cool colors and one in warm colors. Start by dividing your class into two groups. (One group will work with warm colors and the other will work with cool colors.) Draw a large circle on each large sheet of paper. Place cool colors of paint in separate containers by one sheet of paper and place warm colors of paint in separate containers by the other sheet of paper. Have each child put one hand, palm side down, in a container of paint. Following a particular color pattern, such as blue, green, purple (or red, yellow, orange) have the children make a "wreath" by putting their hand print on the circle. Talk about the pattern with children as they are making the wreath, asking what color comes next.

When the wreaths are complete, ask questions about where in nature the children see these colors (green trees, a blue lake, red and orange flames in a fire). To introduce the ideas of warm and cool colors ask the children what they can think of that feels warm (the sun, fire, etc). Then ask what colors are the sun or a fire (reds, oranges, yellows).

Next, ask if they can think of things that feel cool (a lake or swimming pool, a field of grass, the sky just after the sun has set). Then ask what colors are the water of a lake or swimming pool, a field of grass, and the sky as nighttime begins (blues, greens, purples). Ask: Which color do you like best? Does that color remind you of warm or cool things?


Kindergarten - Visual Arts - Lesson 2


Look at colors in two different landscape paintings.

Observe ways that an artist can create a strong sense of season in a painting.

Review warm and cool colors.


Slide of Ploughing Scene by Marie-Rosa Bonheur 1854

Slide of Route to Versailles, Louveciennes by Camille Pisarro 1869

Crayons and drawing paper for each child (for Optional Activity)

Background for the Teacher

Marie-Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) was a highly successful and well-known French painter in her time. She was born into an artistic family: her father was a sculptor and painter; her mother, a musician. She had a lifetime fascination with animals, and, in order to study them for drawings and paintings, frequented farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses as a young woman. Later in life she was able to support herself generously with her art and bought an estate large enough to house herself, a companion, and a large group of animals.

Camille Pisarro (1830-1903) lived in the little village of Louveciennes, near Paris in a house used by Prussian soldiers as headquarters during the Franco-Prussian War. As a result, many of his drawings and paintings which were stored there, were destroyed. French impressionist painters loved painting in the outdoors, and this little village was popular among them. Other Impressionist painters, such as Monet and Sisley, painted the little village as well.


Tell the children that you will show them slides of two landscape paintings created nearly one hundred and fifty years ago by French painters. Ask if anyone can guess what country these two painters come from (France). Point it out on the classroom map and identify the continent as Europe. Ask if anyone can guess what the term landscape painting means (painting of the outdoors, in nature or showing a view of a town or city). Tell them that each picture shows a scene outdoors at a different season of the year, and you want them to help you figure out which season of the year it is in the painting.

First show the Bonheur painting. Tell them it was painted by Maria-Rosa Bonheur and is called "Ploughing Scene." Ask them to tell you what they see in the painting. Some questions you might ask are: How can you tell that this landscape is not a picture of our own time? (animals plowing) Which do you think is the most important thing in the painting, the man or the animals? (animals) Can someone tell us what ploughing is for and how farmers plough nowadays? What are the tiniest things in the painting and what are they doing? (birds, following the plow to snatch worms and grubs) What are the three big shapes on the left of the painting (haystacks) and what are they for? (food and bedding for animals) What is the color you see most of? (brown) Which cool color stands out from all the rest? (green)

Next, ask the children some questions about green and the time of year they think of with green (spring). Ask what season of the year they think the painting shows (spring). You may want to tell them about ploughing under winter or spring wheat early in the spring to make the BCP DRAFT ART 4

Kindergarten - Visual Arts - Lesson 2

soil richer, or you may simply encourage them to discuss more about ploughing and planting in the spring. You could ask them what they notice about the animals (size, muscles and how hard they are working). Finally, see if they could guess what time of day they see in the painting (early morning) and how they can tell (from the sky and the length of the shadow). If no one has talked about the shadow, point out the large black patch in the painting and ask what they think it is (shadow) and why it is so long.

Show the children the second slide. Tell them it is also a painting from the same time and country (France). The artist is a man named Camille Pisarro. Ask: What time of year is it in this painting? (winter) How can you tell? (snow, bare trees) What do you notice about the trees? (no leaves, no color) What color do you see most (white) Does it make you feel warm or cool? (cool) Are there any bright or warm colors in the painting? (not really, just some weak yellow in the buildings) What color are the trees? (Try to get them to realize that seeing the true color of the tree trunks depends on having strong light.) Ask whether anyone has ever noticed how little color things in the outdoors have in the winter, when the sky is overcast and the sun so dim. Encourage the children to talk about what they remember about the coldest day they can remember. Ask if they have ever tried to see the color of a blue or brown bird as the sun is going down. Tell them the bird would probably look black like all the trees in Pisarro's painting. (See if they remember what color the birds were in the Bonheur painting.) Suggest to the children that this evening they look out of their windows just before it gets dark and see if they can observe what happens to the colors of things they know as the sun begins to disappear. Tell them you would like them to remember what they saw and that you will ask them to tell you the next time you meet.

Finally, remind the children about what they learned about warm and cool colors in the last Visual Arts lesson and review the names of the warm and the cool colors.

Optional Activity

If there is time, encourage the children to tell you some of the ways in which they could make a drawing show a particular season of the year. For example, you might have them name the four seasons of the year and then tell you what particular things they think of as belonging to each one. Pass out crayons and paper and tell them to pick one season and draw a landscape that will show you which season they have chosen. (Remind them that a landscape can show a scene out of doors in the country, a city scene with some buildings, and it could have some people or animals if they choose.)