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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts

Visual Arts Lesson Plans

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Each lesson plan listing below includes the target grades, the title, a summary of the activity, and the Arts Toolkit resource used. Click on the title for the full lesson plan.

Primary

1-3 Painting a Still Life
Students paint a still life, paying special attention to the elements of color and value and the principles of pattern and emphasis.

1-3 Creating Narrative Artwork
Students will make “antique” panels for the classroom door. Assembled together, the door will represent interests and strengths of class members.

2-5 Symmetrical Portrait
Students create portraits that demonstrate symmetry and the use of warm and cool colors.

3-4 Exploring Color
Students construct cut-paper pieces to explore the properties of color.
Video: Warm and Cool Colors/Cut-Paper Collage

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The following lesson plans are not part of the Arts Toolkit:

3-8 Figures Activity
Students draw “balloon people” and transform them into paintings.
Video: Ellis Wilson—So Much To Paint
Web site: Ellis Wilson Gallery

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Intermediate

2-5 Symmetrical Portrait
Students create portraits that demonstrate symmetry and the use of warm and cool colors.

3-4 Exploring Color
Students construct cut-paper pieces to explore the properties of color.
Video: Warm and Cool Colors/Cut-Paper Collage

4-5 Creating a Figure Painting
Students learn about Kentucky-born painter Ellis Wilson and create a painting in his style.
Video: Poor Manís Africa

4-5 Making a Color/Shape Collage
Students create collages to explore the use of warm/cool colors, value, shade/tint, mood, balance, pattern, complementary colors, and overlapping colors and shapes.

4-8 The Art and Science of Glass
Students explore properties of glass and observe the creative process of creating art glass.
Video: Glass: Stephen Rolfe Powell

5-8 Rangoli: Making Art for a Purpose
Students create rangoli designs and analyze their work using principles of design.
Video: A Prayer on the Doorstep (Indian Rangoli)

5-12 Using the Responding to Art Worksheets
Students learn about Kentucky painter Ellis Wilson and use the Responding to Art worksheet to describe, analyze, interpret, and judge a painting by Wilson.
Video: Poor Manís Africa

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The following lesson plans are not part of the Arts Toolkit:

3-8 Figures Activity
Students draw “balloon people” and transform them into paintings.
Video: Ellis Wilson—So Much To Paint
Web site: Ellis Wilson Gallery

5-12 Egyptian Sarcophagus
Students design a burial box in the manner of the ancient Egyptians.

5-12 Greek Vases
Students pick a shape for a Greek vase, add a design, and learn about ancient Greek culture.

5-12 Make a Gargoyle
Gargoyles of the Middle Ages were created to frighten evil spirits and remind churchgoers of the horrors of Hell. Students create their own papier-mâché gargoyles.

5-12 The Green Man (Middle Ages/Cathedrals)
Hidden in the corners of some English, French, and German Gothic churches is the “Green Man,” a composite of face and foliage. Students complete their own two-dimensional Green Man.

5-12 Turn Your Students Into Tell Asmar Figures
Using conventions of repetition, simplification, and abstraction often found in Sumerian art, students morph into the Tell Asmar figures.

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Middle

4-8 The Art and Science of Glass
Students explore properties of glass and observe the creative process of creating art glass.
Video: Glass: Stephen Rolfe Powell

5-8 Rangoli: Making Art for a Purpose
Students create rangoli designs and analyze their work using principles of design.
Video: A Prayer on the Doorstep (Indian Rangoli)

5-12 Using the Responding to Art Worksheets
Students learn about Kentucky painter Ellis Wilson and use the Responding to Art worksheet to describe, analyze, interpret, and judge a painting by Wilson.
Video: Poor Manís Africa

6-8 Greek Functional Art
Students explore Greek functional art and create a design for a Greek-style krater.

6-8 Emotion in 3D Abstract Art
Using Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Angles for inspiration, students create an expressive abstract sculpture using the subtractive process for sculpting.

6-8 Making a Collage in the Style of Matisse
Students create warm- and cool-color animal collages in the style of Matisse.
Video: Warm and Cool Colors/Cut-Paper Collage

6-12 Experimenting with Media and Materials
Students experiment with medium and paper to better understand the creative process.

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The following lesson plans are not part of the Arts Toolkit:

3-8 Figures Activity
Students draw “balloon people” and transform them into paintings.
Video: Ellis Wilson—So Much To Paint
Web site: Ellis Wilson Gallery

5-12 Egyptian Sarcophagus
Students design a burial box in the manner of the ancient Egyptians.

5-12 Greek Vases
Students pick a shape for a Greek vase, add a design, and learn about ancient Greek culture.

5-12 Make a Gargoyle
Gargoyles of the Middle Ages were created to frighten evil spirits and remind churchgoers of the horrors of Hell. Students create their own papier-mâché gargoyles.

5-12 The Green Man (Middle Ages/Cathedrals)
Hidden in the corners of some English, French, and German Gothic churches is the “Green Man,” a composite of face and foliage. Students complete their own two-dimensional Green Man.

5-12 Turn Your Students Into Tell Asmar Figures
Using conventions of repetition, simplification, and abstraction often found in Sumerian art, students morph into the Tell Asmar figures.

6-8 Creating a Monoprint
Students create a monoprint and write a personal narrative about the process.
Video: Looking at Painting Program 3, “Abstraction”
Web site: paintings by Gerald Ferstmann in the Looking at Painting gallery

6-8 Creating an Assemblage Sculpture of a Fantasy Creature
In groups, students collaborate on a sculpture built from found materials and painted in black and white.
Video: Looking at Painting Program 3, “Abstraction”
Web site: paintings by Nancy Cassell in the Looking at Painting gallery

6-8 Gesture Drawing
Students create several gesture drawings in preparation for a watercolor done in an Expressionist style.
Video: Looking at Painting Program 2, “Expressionism”
Web site: paintings by Mark Priest in the Looking at Painting gallery

6-8 Mixed-Media Self-Portrait with Symbols
Students use found objects and collage to create self-portraits and write artists’ statements.
Video: Looking at Painting Program 1, “Realism,” and Program 2, “Expressionism”
Web site: paintings by Gaela Irwin and Mark Priest in the Looking at Painting gallery

6-8 Still Life
Students create personal narrative still lifes using objects with different textures and arrange the objects in an active composition.
Video: Looking at Painting Program 1, “Realism”
Web site: paintings by Sheldon Tapley in the Looking at Painting gallery

6-12 Creating Within a Limited Format (Greece)
Many Greek artworks were produced within a restrictive set of rules. Students present one object in a variety of ways.

6-12 Learning from Artifacts (Chinese Art and Culture)
Students learn how to research and interpret ancient Chinese culture from artifacts and design their own tomb.
Video: Imperial China: The Art of the Horse

6-12 Make Your Own African Masks
This brief project assignment includes two African mask templates and several related links.

6-12 Three Activities: Africa in the Classroom
This three-part assignment asks students to explore African visual arts, create a dance with traditional African elements, and research the history of Kente cloth and experiment with a web-based weaving.

7-12 Conceived in Light (Middle Ages/Cathedrals)
This poetry assignment extends a unit on medieval cathedrals.

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High

5-12 Using the Responding to Art Worksheets
Students learn about Kentucky painter Ellis Wilson and use the Responding to Art worksheet to describe, analyze, interpret, and judge a painting by Wilson.
Video: Poor Manís Africa

6-12 Experimenting with Media and Materials
Students experiment with medium and paper to better understand the creative process.

9-12 Writing About Ellis Wilson
Students examine the subject matter of Ellis Wilson’s paintings and write articles about what his work communicates about life and culture.
Video: Poor Manís Africa

9-12 The Challenge of Painting Realistically
Students experiment to better understand the challenges of drawing and painting in a realistic style.
Video: Realism: Landscape
Video: Realism: Self-Portrait
Video: Realism: Still Life

9-12 Abstract Papier-Mâché Sculpture
Students create an abstract sculpture in the style of Henry Moore after examining one of his works.

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The following lesson plans are not part of the Arts Toolkit:

5-12 Egyptian Sarcophagus
Students design a burial box in the manner of the ancient Egyptians.

5-12 Greek Vases
Students pick a shape for a Greek vase, add a design, and learn about ancient Greek culture.

5-12 Make a Gargoyle
Gargoyles of the Middle Ages were created to frighten evil spirits and remind churchgoers of the horrors of Hell. Students create their own papier-mâché gargoyles.

5-12 The Green Man (Middle Ages/Cathedrals)
Hidden in the corners of some English, French, and German Gothic churches is the “Green Man,” a composite of face and foliage. Students complete their own two-dimensional Green Man.

5-12 Turn Your Students Into Tell Asmar Figures
Using conventions of repetition, simplification, and abstraction often found in Sumerian art, students morph into the Tell Asmar figures.

6-12 Creating Within a Limited Format (Greece)
Many Greek artworks were produced within a restrictive set of rules. Students present one object in a variety of ways.

6-12 Learning from Artifacts (Chinese Art and Culture)
Students learn how to research and interpret ancient Chinese culture from artifacts and design their own tomb.
Video: Imperial China: The Art of the Horse

6-12 Make Your Own African Masks
This brief project assignment includes two African mask templates and several related links.

6-12 Three Activities: Africa in the Classroom
This three-part assignment asks students to explore African visual arts, create a dance with traditional African elements, and research the history of Kente cloth and experiment with a web-based weaving.

7-12 Conceived in Light (Middle Ages/Cathedrals)
This poetry assignment extends a unit on medieval cathedrals.

9-12 Abstraction: Critique of Art
Students observe and make personal decisions about abstract artworks using a four-step critique process.
Video: Looking at Painting Program 3, “Abstraction”
Web site: the Abstraction Wing in the Looking at Painting gallery

9-12 Arts in a Spin: Qualities of the Baroque Style
Students watch a video that highlights the musical genius of Bach and analyze the Baroque style in both music and sculpture.

9-12 Be a Museum Curator
Students become museum curators for a day by visiting web sites and creating their own small exhibits.
Video: Electronic Field Trip to the Speed Art Museum

9-12 Create an Artist’s Statement
Students pick favorite original works and create artists’ statements detailing their intent.

3-12 Create an Ellis Wilson-Style Painting
Students analyze the style of an African-American painter and create paintings in that style.
Video: Ellis Wilson—So Much To Paint
Web site: Ellis Wilson Gallery

9-12 Self-Portraits
This unit includes four lessons: Learning How To Draw Facial Features, Self-Portrait Drawing with Stick and Ink and Ink Washes, Learning Color Relationships Through Color Mixing, and Self-Portrait Painting.
Video: Looking at Painting Program 1, “Realism”
Web site: paintings by Gaela Erwin in the Looking at Painting gallery

9-12 Still Life
Students collect objects for a still life and create a painting in a Realistic or Expressionistic style.
Video: Looking at Painting Program 1, “Realism,” and Program 2, “Expressionism”
Web site: three paintings in the Looking at Painting gallery

9-12 The Three Daves (Renaissance Through Baroque Sculpture)
Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini sculpted distinctively different versions of the Biblical David. Students share their findings on one of the “Daves” in class presentations. (sculptural nudity)

9-12 Visit the Dome of the Rock (Islamic Religion/Architecture)
Students research the history of the Nobel Sanctuary, view architectural features of the Dome of the Rock, and experience the culture of the Early Moslem Age.

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