• The Magical World of Russian Fairy Tales

    Baba Yaga the witch, a staple of Russian fairy tales.

    Many children are familiar with Snow White's evil stepmother and her poisonous apple, Cinderella's fairy godmother, and the witch in the gingerbread house waiting to eat Hansel and Gretel for dinner. But have they met Baba Yaga, the old crone who is both wise and cruel, who lives in a house standing on chicken legs, and whose servants bring with them the day, sunset and the night? Baba Yaga, the iconic witch of Slavic fairy tales, is one of the characters students will meet in this journey through Russian fairy tales.

  • What's in a Picture? An Introduction to Subject in the Visual Arts

    "Boys in a Dory," by Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910).

    When you visit an art museum and enter one of the halls filled with paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures your eye falls on the image closest to you and you wonder what is that picture about? This lesson plan focuses on helping students to answer that question by investigating the subject of works of art. This lesson plan will provide a guide for gathering clues embedded in works of art, as well as an introduction to searching for the underlying meaning and messages that are present in many works of art. Students will work, step by step, through the layers of meaning, delving more deeply into these layers with each work as they progress through the lesson.

  • Lesson 3: Repetition in the Visual Arts

    Repetition in the Visual Arts

    When we view paintings and other works of art our eyes usually move across the surface of the canvas, hitting on various points, objects, and figures in the picture. In this lesson students will learn about repetition, one of the techniques artists often use to highlight important elements within a painting's composition, and to move a viewer's eye around the canvas, from highpoint to highpoint.

  • Lesson 1: Composition Basics

    Composition Basics Too, Adoration of Magi

    In this first lesson of the curriculum unit Composition in Painting: Everything in its right place, students will begin by learning the definition of composition in the visual arts and some of its most basic components.

  • Allegory in Painting

    Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life: Childhood, 1842 (detail)

    This lesson plan introduces students to allegory in the visual arts through the works of a number of well-known artists, including Thomas Cole and Caravaggio.

  • Romare Bearden's "The Dove"—A Meeting of Vision and Sound

    Romare Bearden, (1911–1988)

    By examining The Dove by artist Romare Bearden, students will learn to appreciate the artistic and intellectual achievement of Black artists in America in the first half of the 20th century. By listening to music, students will see how art and music intersect to tell us a story. They will relate that story to their own lives.

  • Norman Rockwell, Freedom of Speech—Know It When You See It

    19a. Norman Rockwell (1894–1978)

    This lesson plan highlights the importance of First Amendment rights by examining Norman Rockwell’s painting of The Four Freedoms. Students discover the First Amendment in action as they explore their own community and country through newspapers, art, and role playing.

    Lesson Plans: Grades K-2
    Curriculum Unit

    The Alphabet is Historic (4 Lessons)

    Tools

    Share

    The Unit

    Overview

    Alphabet is Historic: Curriculum Unit image

    The evolution of our current western alphabet.

    Credit: EDSITEment

    The youngest and newest writers often have a deep interest in the origin of writing itself. The lessons in this curriculum unit will introduce young students to the history of our alphabet. First, students will learn about the Phoenicians, the great trading people of the eastern Mediterranean who invented many of our letters. We'll follow as the Phoenicians taught their alphabet to the ancient Greeks, and follow again as the Greeks taught their alphabet to the Romans. Finally, we'll learn that the Romans left their alphabet to us, and that we use the Roman alphabet to write in English.

    By following this path through history we can establish a connection between these ancient civilizations and the youngest writers. We can show them that they are using the alphabet that was developed so long ago. The three lessons in this curriculum unit include short historical introductions to the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans, hyper-links to selected illustrations, and suggestions for activities.

    Guiding Questions

    • Where does the alphabet come from?

    This is one of those questions, like “Why is the sky blue?” through which children try to define something basic and important in their world. Although the very first writing is lost in the mists of time, we can trace the development of our alphabet for about the last 3,000 years.

    Learning Objectives

    As the students learn the history of the alphabet they will be introduced to three important ancient civilizations, and to the idea of cultural inheritance. The concept of chronological order will be reinforced through an emphasis on the fact that each group of people passed on the alphabet. In addition to learning history, the children will practice language arts and art skills.

    After completing this unit, students will be able to do the following:

    • Describe how first the Phoenicians, then the Greeks, and finally the Romans passed down the alphabet.
    • Compare some letters from the earlier alphabets to our alphabet, and talk about how the alphabet changed over time.
    • Recognize the Mediterranean area on a map and show that the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans came from the Mediterranean area.
    • Describe two or three basic features of each of these cultures.
    • Complete some short writing and art assignments based on the alphabets.

    Preparation Instructions

    Read through each of the lessons and select or download the necessary materials.

    The Lessons

    The Basics

    Grade Level

    K-2

    Subject Areas
    • Foreign Language > Ancient > Ancient Greek
    • Literature and Language Arts > Place > Ancient World
    • Art and Culture > Subject Matter > Archaeology
    • Foreign Language > Ancient > Latin
    • History and Social Studies > World > The Ancient World (3500 BCE-500 CE)
    • Art and Culture > Medium > Visual Arts
    • Literature and Language Arts > Place > Other
    Skills
    • Compare and contrast
    • Critical thinking
    • Discussion
    • Gathering, classifying and interpreting written, oral and visual information
    • Historical analysis
    • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
    • Map Skills
    • Representing ideas and information orally, graphically and in writing
    • Visual analysis
    Lesson Plans: Grades 9-12
    Curriculum Unit

    Horse of a Different Color: An Introduction to Color in the Visual Arts (1 Lessons)

    Tools

    Share

    The Unit

    Overview

    The names of the primary and secondary colors are often among the first words we learn to speak and write. Even very young children can identify the red object in a painting, or the blue object in a photograph, but there is a lot more to color than initially meets the eye.

    In this curriculum unit students will be introduced to the importance and effect of color in the visual arts. Why do artists use particular colors in their compositions? The activities in this lesson will guide students towards a greater understanding of the ways in which color can focus the viewer's attention, give the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional medium, and affect the tone and mood of an artwork.

    Guiding Questions

    How do artists use color to create effects of perception and to set the tone of an artwork?

    Learning Objectives

    • Explain the ways in which color is used to create a sense of depth in a two dimensional space
    • Identify the ways in which the artist uses color to draw the viewer's attention to points within the composition
    • Discuss the effect of color on the tone and mood of an artwork

    Preparation Instructions

    This unit is one of a series of EDSITEment lessons designed to help students gain the skills to better understand the visual arts. You may wish to teach this unit alone or as part of the series of EDSITEment lessons that includes the curriculum unit Everything in its Right Place: An Introduction to Composition in the Visual Arts and Portraits, Pears, and Perfect Landscapes: Investigating Genre in the Visual Arts.

    There are a number of definitions that will be helpful for teaching this lesson:

    • Primary colors include red, blue, and yellow. They are considered primary because they cannot be created by mixing other colors. In this sense they are like prime numbers, which cannot be divided into smaller numbers, such as the number three.
    • Secondary colors include orange, green, and purple or violet and are created by mixing the primary colors in specific combinations. For example, green is a mix of yellow and blue; orange a mix of red and yellow; and violet a mix of blue and red.
    • Hue: the visual property that gives a color its name by distinguishing that color from others on the color spectrum. For example, the property of having a blue-green hue distinguishes that color from another, red-orange color. Black and white do not have hue, although they can have value—darkness or lightness.
    • Complementary colors are the colors that sit on the opposite sides of the color spectrum when the spectrum is shown as a circle. Thus, green and red are complementary colors, as are orange and blue, and yellow and violet. When complementary colors are mixed they create a neutral tone; when they are next to each other, they highlight each other.
    • Color Schemes are harmonious combinations of colors within a work of art. These vary and may include monochromatic (lighter and darker variations of the same color); analogous (small range of colors next to each other on the color wheel, such as variations of blue and violet); or complimentary (colors across from each other on the color wheel such as red and green); among others.

    Additional color definitions include:

    • Key or Value: lightness or darkness of a color relative to one another. White is the highest key or value, while black is the lowest.
    • Saturation: purity of hues when compared to the way the hue appears on the color spectrum.

    The Lessons

    The Basics

    Grade Level

    9-12

    Subject Areas
    • Art and Culture > Medium > Visual Arts
    Skills
    • Critical thinking
    • Discussion
    • Interpretation
    • Logical reasoning
    • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
    • Visual art analysis
    Lesson Plans: Grades K-2
    Curriculum Unit

    The Alphabet is Historic (1 Lessons)

    Tools

    Share

    The Unit

    Overview

    The youngest and newest writers often have a deep interest in the origin of writing itself. The lessons in this curriculum unit will introduce young students to the history of our alphabet. First, students will learn about the Phoenicians, the great trading people of the eastern Mediterranean who invented many of our letters. We'll follow as the Phoenicians taught their alphabet to the ancient Greeks, and follow again as the Greeks taught their alphabet to the Romans. Finally, we'll learn that the Romans left their alphabet to us, and that we use the Roman alphabet to write in English.

    By following this path through history we can establish a connection between these ancient civilizations and the youngest writers. We can show them that they are using the alphabet that was developed so long ago. The three lessons in this curriculum unit include short historical introductions to the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans, hyper-links to selected illustrations, and suggestions for activities.

    Guiding Questions

    “Where does the alphabet come from?” This is one of those questions, like “Why is the sky blue?” through which children try to define something basic and important in their world. Although the very first writing is lost in the mists of time, we can trace the development of our alphabet for about the last 3,000 years.

    Learning Objectives

    As the students learn the history of the alphabet they will be introduced to three important ancient civilizations, and to the idea of cultural inheritance. The concept of chronological order will be reinforced through an emphasis on the fact that each group of people passed on the alphabet. In addition to learning history, the children will practice language arts and art skills.

    After completing this unit, students will be able to:

    • Describe how first the Phoenicians, then the Greeks, and finally the Romans passed down the alphabet.
    • Compare some letters from the earlier alphabets to our alphabet, and talk about how the alphabet changed over time.
    • Recognize the Mediterranean area on a map and show that the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans came from the Mediterranean area.
    • Describe two or three basic features of each of these cultures.
    • Complete some short writing and art assignments based on the alphabets.

    Preparation Instructions

    Read through each of the lessons and select or download the necessary materials. A short list of necessary materials is given in the “Preparing to Teach this Lesson” section of each lesson.

    The Basics

    Grade Level

    K-2

    Subject Areas
    • Foreign Language > Ancient > Ancient Greek
    • Literature and Language Arts > Place > Ancient World
    • Art and Culture > Subject Matter > Archaeology
    • Foreign Language > Ancient > Latin
    • History and Social Studies > World > The Ancient World (3500 BCE-500 CE)
    • Art and Culture > Medium > Visual Arts
    • Literature and Language Arts > Place > Other
    Skills
    • Compare and contrast
    • Critical thinking
    • Gathering, classifying and interpreting written, oral and visual information
    • Historical analysis
    • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
    • Map Skills
    • Representing ideas and information orally, graphically and in writing
    • Writing skills