• Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series: Removing the Mask

    Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000)

    In this lesson, students analyze Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 57 (1940-41), Helene Johnson’s Harlem Renaissance poem “Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem” (1927), and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s late-nineteenth-century poem “We Wear the Mask” (1896), considering how each work represents the life and changing roles of African Americans from the late nineteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance and The Great Migration.

  • The Massachusetts 54th Regiment: Honoring the Heroes

    Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907)

    The focus of this lesson is the Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Students will put themselves in the shoes of the men of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment as they read, write, pose, and then create a comic strip about these American heroes.

  • In Old Pompeii

    Vesuvius from Portici, c. 1774–1776. Joseph Wright (British,  1734–1797), oil on canvas, 101 x 127 cm.

    A virtual field trip to the ruins of Pompeii. In this lesson, students learn about everyday life, art and culture in ancient Roman times, then display their knowledge by creating a travelogue to attract visitors to the site. They can also write an account of their field trip modeled on a description of Pompeii written by Mark Twain. 

  • Martin Puryear's "Ladder for Booker T. Washington"

    Martin Puryear

    Students examine Martin Puryear’s Ladder for Booker T. Washington and consider how the title of Puryear’s sculpture is reflected in the meanings we can draw from it. They learn about Booker T. Washington’s life and legacy, and through Puryear's ladder, students explore the African American experience from Booker T.'s perspective and apply their knowledge to other groups in U.S. History. They also gain understanding on how a ladder can be a metaphor for a person’s and a group’s progress toward goals.

  • Lesson 1: In Depth with the Full Spectrum

    Winslow Homer, The Milk Maid, 1878 (detail). A study in complementary  colors.

    In this lesson students will be introduced to the basics of the color wheel, as well as the ways in which artists use color to guide the viewer's attention through a painting's composition.

  • Birth of a Nation, the NAACP, and the Balancing of Rights

    "Wherever it goes, the Birth of the Nation film arouses widespread indignation."

    In this lesson students learn how Birth of a Nation reflected and influenced racial attitudes, and they analyze and evaluate the efforts of the NAACP to prohibit showing of the film.

  • The Royal Art of Benin

    Benin Kingdom people, Nigeria, mask

    This lesson plan introduces students to art of the West African kingdom of Benin, which flourished from the 12th or 13th to the end of the 19th centuries in what is now southern Nigeria. Students learn about how the royal power of the king of Benin was communicated through brass plaques and use symbolism to create their own paper plaques.

  • Genre in the Visual Arts: Portraits, Pears, and Perfect Landscapes

    Washington Crossing the  Delaware by Emanuel Leutze.

    Still Life, portrait, and landscape are all categories, or genres, of painting which your students have probably seen examples of on their trips to the museum or when looking through an art book. This lesson plan will help students to understand and differentiate the various genres in the visual arts, particularly in Western painting. Students will learn to identify major genres, and will learn to discriminate between a painting’s subject and its genre.

  • Poems of Tennyson and Noyes: Pictures in Words

    Photograph of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

    Striking examples of poetic "pictures"-not just vivid images but the entire mental picture conjured up by a poet-are to be found in "The Charge of the Light Brigade," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and "The Highwayman," by Alfred Noyes. As they explore the means by which Tennyson and  Noyes create these compelling pictures in words, students will also learn the critical terminology to analyze and describe a variety of poetic techniques and will have an opportunity to create their own pictures in words.

  • Seeing Sense in Photographs & Poems

    Alfred Stieglitz is one of America's most prominent and celebrated photographers

    Through close study of Alfred Stieglitz’ 1907 photograph "The Steerage" and William Carlos William's 1962 poem "Danse Russe," students will explore how poetry can be, in Plutarch’s words, "a speaking picture," and a painting (or in this case a photograph) can be "a silent poetry."