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Favorite Places & Spaces

What is your favorite place in the world? Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh painted not one, not two, but three famous versions of his own bedroom!

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Vincent van Gogh is one of the world’s most recognized painters. His paintings are bright, bold, and use thick brush strokes. Students research to find out why van Gogh painted his blue bedroom in France three times. What interesting differences do they notice in each version? Students paint a picture of their bedroom, or any special place, in the style of van Gogh’s "Bedroom in Arles."
    2. Choose a sturdy painting surface such as a recycled foam produce tray, cardboard, or wood. Lightly sketch the special scene or design with a Crayola Colored Pencil. Cover the painting area with recycled newspaper.
    3. Paint the thick coat of Crayola Texture It! Tempera Mixing Medium on the painting surface. To paint in van Gogh’s style, make sure the brush strokes can be seen. Air-dry the surface over night.
    4. Add hues to your drawing with various colors of Crayola Tempera Paint. Make sure to rinse the brush well when changing colors. Change the water often. Painting on top of the mixing medium will create a wonderful raised, textured look. Air-dry.
    5. Students present their paintings to the class explaining why they chose their special place and pointing out the details that are important in their work.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Vincent's Colors by The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars by Jason Holub; Vincent van Gogh: The Starry Night by Richard Thomson;

    Compare "Bedroom in Arles" to other van Gogh masterpieces such as "The Starry Night." How do they differ in mood and style? How are they alike? Why did van Gogh prefer to paint in France?

    Working in small groups, students investigate other paintings of van Gogh and the circumstances that led him to create them. Organize findings into an electronic format. Take all student contributions and merge them into one presentation for the class to view.

    Encourage students to investigate other types of paintings such as Jackson Pollack's drip art or Victor Vasarely's op-art designs. Have them write a summary of their research, word process it, and download an electronic photograph of examples of artist's work.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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