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LESSON PLAN for THOMAS HART BENTON

ARTWORK TITLE: The Source of Country Music 1975 (6 x 10)


ARTIST: Thomas Hart Benton
MEDIUM: Oil painting

VISUAL ELEMENTS/IDEAS/THEMES [ACEI 2.5]


BRAINSTORMING:
Sound
Movement
Waves
Line form
Body language
BRAINSTORM IDEAS:
Singing, expressions (distraught, no one is smiling), transportation, very few straight
lines, instruments, shoes and no shoes, country, horse saddle, noise appears
everywhere, distance
How do we see sound?
How do we visualize sound?

ORGANIZE IDEAS INTO THEMES:


1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

Sound how do we see sound?


Movement how does line form affect our sense of movement?
Scale how does size of objects affect the importance and feel of the objects?
Color how does color affect how we feel about the artwork
Symbols what do the symbols represent?

MAKE A LIST OF THE IMPORTANT VISUAL ELEMENTS THAT ARE BEING USED
IN THE WORK OF ART:
VISUAL
line
shape
color
scale
DESIGN
movement
rhythm
Age or grade of the student
The students are 3 and 4 years of age, typically developing children, potentially
some with language and physical delays.
AIMS/GOALS/OBJECTIVES [ACEI 3.1]
What is your aim?
Students will understand that music affects how they move with their bodies and
how they move a pencil. They will understand that they can actually see sound in
some capacity.
What is your goal?
Students will be able to create markings/drawings to represent a sound or a song
that they hear.
What is your objective?
Art/ Cognitive
Students will draw on paper using crayons to illustrate a sound that they hear.
Fine Motor
Students will be able to use pencil or crayon with pincer grip, when appropriate, to
draw. (creative liberties using a full hand grasp can be taken when drawing)
Language/Communication
Students will be able to verbalize or point to a detail in the painting.

What Arts Standard does your Lesson Plan address? The Arts Standards for
New York.htm http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/arts/artstand/home.html

Students will understand and use the elements and principles of art (line, color,
texture, shape) in order to communicate their ideas
Students will know about some cultural institutions (museums and galleries) and
community opportunities (art festivals) for looking at original art and talking to
visiting artists, to increase their understanding of art
Students will explain the visual and other sensory qualities (surfaces, colors,
textures, shape, sizes, volumes) found in a wide variety of art works
Students will explain the themes that are found in works of visual art and how the
art works are related to other forms of art (dance, music, theatre, etc.)
INQUIRY/REFLECTION AND CONTEXT [ACEI 3.3]

ARTISTIC LINE OF INQUIRY: What kind of question does the artwork invoke?
How does Benton use contrast with line, color, scale and symbols to visually create
sound? The following lesson will discuss line.
EDUCATION PRACTICE LINE OF INQUIRY:
What do you see happening in this painting?
What are the people doing?
Can you point to something in the painting that might make sound?
How do you know that item makes sound?
How do you think the people feel in this painting? Why?
Are the people standing still? How do you know?
Can you show me what the people might be doing if this painting were a video you
were watching?
Why do you think we use lines that are straight or wavy?
Because the children are so young, and some may have language delays I want to
begin the line of questioning with very broad questions like what do you see
happening in this painting? The children can use verbal language or physical
gestures to describe what they see happening. Then I want to focus the questions
to ask about specifics that they see, as well as to get them focused on "sound" and
"movement." I want them to look at the line form they see and discuss why they
think the people are moving, allowing the visual elements to inform the design
elements.
CREATIVITY/SKILLS ACTIVITY/FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES [ACEI 3.4]
ACTIVITY: Create your own art activities that use visual, musical, theatrical or
dance elements that contribute to the artworks unique character, technique or style.

CREATE A SKILL ACTIVITY


Play a sound for the student and ask the student to draw what the instruments
sound might look like.
In the exercise only crayons and paper will be used. The children will fold their
paper into 6 rectangles where they will draw what they hear in each different
rectangle. We will use simple tools that the
children are familiar with because the task itself is more focused on other senses.
By keeping the tools familiar, you allow the student to focus his/her efforts on the
newness of the activity. The children can then discuss how their drawings differ in
each box.
Sounds include:

Trumpet

Harp

Piano

Fiddle

Drum

Flute
DESIGN A CREATIVE ACTIVITY:
Play a song, The Old Time Religion by Craig Duncan, from 30 Favorite Bluegrass
Hymns. First have the children dance to it and videotape their dancing. Then have
the children draw what they think that song looks like using crayons on a large piece
of white construction paper. Discuss and analyze the drawings for different line
forms used, as well as the video of the dancing and the different movements they
see.
CREATE A FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITY:
Explore other songs (Mozart and hip hop) and the colors, line form that the songs
invoke.
First play a song by Mozart, Concerto No. 21 in C Major and allow the children to
draw what the song might look like to them. Talk about the colors and lines that the
children are inspired to use based on what they hear. Do the same exercise with a
hip hop song, The Sugarhill Gangs "Rappers Delight." Compare the colors and line
form used in both exercises discussing the kind of movement the song invokes.
Additionally have the children use their bodies and dance the movement they feel
for these songs. This will help inform them how the music is different, and how it
makes them feel. Analyze how the dances were different. By videotaping the
dances and viewing them as a class, the students will be able to verbalize and/or
point out where and how the dances were different.
REFLECTION AND CONTEXTUAL INFORMATION
REFLECTION:

It's necessary to keep the reflection questions simple for 3-4 year old
comprehension, but also poignant for adequate reflection on the study of the piece.
Did anything surprise you about the painting?
What did you notice about the way Benton painted? (offer color, line form, subject
matter)
How were your drawings different? (focusing first on the sounds (skills) activity,
then on the creative activity and follow up activity)
Hands-on activity
Each child should draw a picture of a favorite song. It is likely that the song may
depict a literal meaning of the song (e.g. stars for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star),
however the line form and inclusion of instruments may be more telling of what the
children are applying from the lesson. Discuss and analyze the drawings and choice
of colors, lines, and symbols.

CONTEXTUAL INFORMATION:
What kind of connections can you make to link the visual arts to curriculum?
This lesson connects art with music, as well as history. By focusing on the
instruments and the sounds we hear, we will highlight music education topics.
Additionally, by discussing when the music (specifically country music) may have
begun or was popular, history will also be uncovered and examined by the students.
By using the books outlined below, the visual arts will also help explore literature
that reflects the teachings we covered. Barnyard Dance is a childrens book that
actually reads like a square dance. How do words help create a feeling of dance?
Also The Dot is a childrens book that explores markings (like a dot) with the
theme, make a mark and see where it takes you. There are no rules in the activity
or in art, per se, so let your imagination flow.
After the unit of study it would benefit the children to listen to a live performance of
country or folk music. However if that is not available, other songs can be explored
in the similar country genre like Chatahoochee by Nashville Country, on
Nashville or Down by the Riverside by Ragtime Annie Fiddle Band, on Ragtime
Annie.
Additionally the books listed below will serve as more context for the Bentons piece.

Barnyard Dance - Sandra Boynton; reads like a square dance

The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds; explores the lack of rules in art


Another option is to explore a similar dancing painting like Pieter Brueghel the
Youngers Wedding dance in a barn (c 1616) and compare the line form and
perceived movement to Bentons piece.

BOOKS
Sandra Boynton
Barnyard Dance
Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot
ART
Pieter Brueghel the Younger
Wedding dance in a barn (c1616)
ASSESSMENT [ACEI 4]
Create and attach an age/grade specific rubric with 3 assessment levels for your
lesson.
RUBRIC
Art/Cognitive

Language &
Communication

Fine Motor

Exceed
Expectations
Creates a
marking or
drawing that
represents the
sound being
played and
demonstrates
how or why it
represents the
sound
Points or
verbalizes a
detail in answer
to a question, as
part of a class
discussion and
explains why
Uses pincer grip
with a crayon for
majority of the
drawing

Meet
Expectations
Creates a
marking or
drawing that
represents the
sound being
played

Below
Expectations
Does not draw

Points or
verbalizes a
detail in answer
to a question, as
part of a class
discussion

Does not
participate in
discussion

Uses pincer grip


with a crayon for
some of the
drawing

Does not use


pincer grip with
crayons