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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Lesson Plan



Lesson Plan:

Creating Narrative Artwork

Students will make “antique” panels for the classroom door. Assembled together, the door will represent interests and strengths of class members.
  • Length: 4 35-minute classes


  • Students will recognize the Paneled Room as functional/narrative art.
  • Students will create narrative art unique to their own experiences.
  • Students will describe their work using art terminology.

Resource Used:

Paneled Room (West Door)
Found in: the Speed Art Museum gallery of the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum CD-ROM


details, emphasis, functional art, narrative art, overlap, pattern, repetition, symmetry


Instructional Strategies and Activities

Paneled Room

The West Door of the English Paneled Room in the Speed Art Museum is an extraordinary example of both functional and narrative art. It is a 400-year-old wooden door that is finely decorated with carvings (functional art), and it portrays six dramatic and fantastical stories by the Roman poet Ovid (narrative art). The lesson handout provides information about the stories which you can relate to your students.


View and discuss the English door and its panels. Information about the door can be found on the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum CD-ROM. Talk about the door as functional art. Look at the door panel details and ask students to describe what they see. Help them use art vocabulary by pointing out areas of emphasis in each panel, the use of pattern and repetition, and the symmetrical arrangement.

Select one of the panels and tell the story associated with the scene depicted there. If the students are interested and time allows, tell other stories associated with door panels. Then talk about the door as an example of narrative art.

Now tell students they will make panels for your classroom door. As you give instructions, emphasize art vocabulary.

Student Directions for Art Project (This may take 1-4 class periods, depending on how much time you wish to allow.)

  • Draw a half-inch border on all sides of the paper.
  • Draw an arch about 1-1/2" in from the edges of the border.
  • Draw yourself doing something that you do really well within the arch.
  • Draw big, filling a good portion of the space. (This will make the student the focal point—emphasis—of each panel.)
  • Add surrounding people, animals, plants, etc. that are responding to your talent. (Tell students to be sure to overlap at least once within the drawin, and add lots and lots of details filling up the space, leaving no area with more than two fingers’ width of space.)
  • Decorate the arches with patterns of repeated lines and/or shapes. These patterns can relate to the subject matter of the drawing or can be purely decorative.
  • Go over all pencil lines with a black marker.
  • Color the panels with crayons. (They should color “waxy,” with short, close strokes, in order to get intense colors, leaving only the 1/2" border uncolored. For white areas, use a white crayon.)
  • Wet the panel under running water. (Show them how to gently wad it up to “wring it out.” This will put cracks in the colored areas.)
  • Open up the panel and spread it out on a newspaper.
  • Brush brown tempera paint over the entire panel, then totally wipe off the paint with a damp rag. The brown paint will remain in the cracked areas and create an “antique patina.” Set drawing aside to dry.

Have each student write a description of his or her panel, using art vocabulary from the lesson.

Work Tip

By using a symmetrical pattern of two panels across and six panels down, you should be able to display the entire class’s panels on both the inside and outside of the door.


Support • Connections • Resources

See handout for stories of the Paneled Room (also included on the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum CD-ROM).


Performance Assessment

Performance Event: Look at the door from the English Paneled Room at the Speed Museum. This door is a fine example of both functional and narrative art.

Directions: Make a panel for your classroom door telling a “story” about a special talent you have. Describe what your panel looks like, using the art vocabulary from this lesson.

Performance Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
The student makes a panel that clearly describes his/her talent and its effect. All space is effectively used, with lots of details, the main figure as focal point, overlapping in at least one spot, no empty space greater than two fingers’ width, and a pleasing pattern in the arch. Craftsmanship is effective. Description includes consistently correct use of the art vocabulary. The student makes a panel that somewhat clearly describes his/her talent and its effect. Most of the space is well used, with lots of details, the main figure as the focal point, and a pleasing pattern in the arch. Craftsmanship is fairly effective. Description includes an overall correct use of the art vocabulary. The student makes a panel that basically describes his/her talent and its effect. Minimal attention has been paid to the space on the paper, with few details, the main figure as focal point, and minimal effort in designing the arch. Craftsmanship is adequate. Description includes a limited use of the art vocabulary. The student makes a panel that barely describes his/her talent and shows little or none of its effect. Little or no attention has been paid to organization of space on the paper. Craftsmanship is not evident. Description includes little or no knowledge of the art vocabulary. Blank, no answer, or irrelevant response.


Academic Content

Academic Expectations:

  • 1.13: Students make sense of ideas and communicate ideas with the visual arts.
  • 2.22: Students create works of art and make presentations to convey a point of view.
  • 2.23: Students analyze their own and others’ artistic products and performances using accepted standards.
  • 2.24: Students have knowledge of major works of art, music, and literature and appreciate creativity and the contributions of the arts and humanities.

Program of Studies:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the elements of art and principles of design.
  • Identify and use the elements of art and principles of design.
  • Explore a variety of media (e.g., crayon, pencil, paint) and processes (e.g., drawing, painting, weaving) used for creating works of art.
  • Experience art from different cultures, periods, and styles.

Core Content for Assessment:

  • AH-EP-1.4.1: Students will identify or describe works of art using elements of art and principles of design.
  • AH-EP-3.4.1: Students will experience visual art works created for a variety of purposes. (functional, narrative)


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