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Lesson Plan

Artistic Elements: Exploring Art Through Descriptive Writing

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Artistic Elements: Exploring Art Through Descriptive Writing

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

K. Powell

North Carolina


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Art and literature go hand-in-hand in this integrated lesson designed to develop descriptive writing skills. Student artwork serves as the basis for a guided discussion on the elements of artistic expression—color, shape, line, and mood—and how these can be conveyed in written language. A read-aloud of Anna's Art Adventure applies these ideas to the work of well-known artists, focusing on Jackson Pollock. Students each choose a work of art from an online or print source (recommended sources are included) and work individually to write a vivid description of that picture. They exchange their finished descriptions with a partner and use classroom art materials to try to reproduce the picture their partner described. The lesson is easily adaptable for students with special needs or who are English-language learners.

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Anna's Art Adventure by Bjorn Sortland; illustrated by Lars Elling (Carolrhoda Books, 1999) Engage students in art he story of a young girl who, while searching for the bathroom in an art museum, discovers the work of many influential artists.

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Greco, R. (1997). Introducing art history through children's literature. The Reading Teacher, 50, 365.

This article explores the ease with which art and literacy goals can be achieved cohesively within the elementary classroom by using integrated units and lessons based on children's literature. "Art and literature are natural companions," states art teacher and author of the article Rita Greco. The diverse literature selections now available for elementary-aged children provide a wonderful starting point for educational endeavors involving all of the content areas. This "is a venture that should not be ignored."

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