May 2, 2010

Another Old College Paper

I went into college as an education major (I wanted to teach K-5) and left as a psychology major. Completing the following lesson plan helped with my decision to change career paths:

Title: Room for Thought: An exploration of rooms by Vincent Van Gogh.

Grade: 3

Class Time Length: Two 45- minute Art Periods.


•Students explore how the use of colors, lines, and shapes are used to express a certain feeling and/or emotion in room paintings by Vincent Van Gogh.

•Students respond to paintings of rooms by Van Gogh in a class discussion.

•Students compose individual room paintings in comparison to Van Gogh’s works, which exhibit a particular emotion.

Tennessee Visual Art Standards:

•# 5: Discuss art that communicates ideas, feelings, and moods.

•#8: Express ideas, feelings, and values in original works of art.

National Visual Art Standards:

1.Content Standard: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.

•Achievement Standard:


a. Know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas.

b. Describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses.

c. Use visual structures and functions to communicate ideas.

5. Content Standard: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

•Achievement Standard:


a. Understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.

b. Describe how people’s experiences influence the development of specific artworks

c. Understand there are different responses to specific artworks.

DBAE: Disciple Based Art Education:

___ Production __ Aesthetics ___ Criticism ___Art History

Elements of Art: Line, Shape, Space, and Color

Principles of Design: Balance, Unity/Harmony, Emphasis

New Vocabulary: 1) Emphasis 2) Symmetrical/Asymmetrical

3) Balance 4) Vertical 5) Horizontal

Related Artist: Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Painter.

Materials: Water Colors Paintbrushes Drawing Paper

Pencils Pastels

Reproductions of Van Gogh’s Work


The lesson is initiated by an exhibition of colorful room paintings by Van Gogh. Students are given 5-10 minutes to observe the different spaces displayed in the pieces. Mood Setting music may be played in the background. A portrait and brief biography of Van Gogh is displayed along with the paintings. Following the students’ observations, a class discussion is held.

Instructional Procedure:

•Day 1 (45 min):

After observing room paintings by Van Gogh, such as Bedroom in Arles, the students are asked to reflect upon them in an open class discussion. The students are asked how the rooms in the paintings make them feel. The teacher then explains to the class how certain elements and principles of art including colors, lines, shapes, and balance can be used to create these certain moods and/or settings. The students are asked to again observe Van Gogh’s paintings. The students point out and discuss the different kinds of lines, shapes, and colors that they notice in the paintings. The students are also asked to discuss how the certain elements contribute to the mood the painting conveys.

•Day 2 (45 min):

The Students briefly review the room paintings, which were exhibited by Van Gogh the day before in class, and are then asked to think of a room in their home or some other significant place that makes them feel a particular way. Depending on the mood they want to display, the students incorporate elements of style similar to Van Gogh’s . For example, Van Gogh used asymmetry and dark blue colors in the painting of his room to convey a solemn mood. Students are given a selection of supplies to choose from. They may use watercolors, pencils, and pastels to create the colors and texture they desire. Music may be played to inspire the students while they are painting. After the students have completed their masterpieces, they are given a title card for their noteworthy title. Along with a title, the students are to write a couple of sentences explaining what mood their artwork represents and why. The masterpieces should be displayed in the hall or on the classroom bulletin board for everyone to admire.

Special Needs:

Most students will be able to complete this activity without any difficulty. Students with learning disabilities may be paired up with a peer.

Clean up:

The students will be responsible for cleaning their desk areas and returning the supplies they used to the appropriate spot. Leave approximately five minutes for clean up.

Extension: Students observe and sketch the rooms in their homes and other places. They may also write a description of the room and its mood.

Student Assessment:

•How do you feel about Van Gogh’s paintings?

•Did you look at Van Gogh’s paintings differently after learning about his use of lines and colors?

•What supplies did you enjoy using the most for your own painting?

•Did you look at the room you chose to paint differently after you observed it?

Self-Assessment: Discussion, Class participation, and Producing.

• Did the lesson keep my students engaged?

• Did all of my students contribute to the class discussion?

• Did my students seem to understand the lesson material?

• Did my students use the elements of style discussed in class in their paintings?

• Did the students seem interested in Vincent Van Gogh?

• Did my students seem satisfied with their finished product?


The Van Gogh Gallery (2001).

Getty ArtsEDNET (2001).


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