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Paint With Expression!

Painting is a great way to communicate how you feel. Express yourself with colors and free-form designs that match your mood!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 Minutes or Less
  • Directions

    1. During a unit of study focused on the 20th century, ask students to look at famous works of art from the time period such as the works of Jackson Pollock, Barbara Hepworth, and Romare Beardon. Organize a variety of text and electronic resources for students to view during this research.
    2. Discuss the feelings their creations seem to express, such as happiness, frustration, calmness, or sadness. How can colors, brush strokes, textures, lines, and images affect our emotions? Talk about how people express their feelings through art. Choose one strong emotion to portray in a painting.
    3. Ask students to cover their work area with recycled newspaper. On a paper plate or other palette, combine Crayola Washable Tempera with personal choice of a Crayola Tempera Mixing Medium: Glitter It!, Pearl It!, or Texture It! Lightly mix the two with a brush. Provide time for students to experiment and invent their own colors and effects.
    4. Students start painting. Make lines, squiggles, dots, or dashes. Create waves, zigzags, or swirls to express your emotions. What does happy look like? How do different colors express your feelings? Air-dry overnight.
    5. Invite students to step back and look at and discuss each others' artistic creations. What feeling does each picture express? What characteristics of each painting led them to make their comments? Student artists identify and discuss the research they used in their artwork.
  • Standards

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

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    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.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    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.

    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

    Working in small groups, students investigate the artwork of well-known artists such as Jason Pollack, Barbara Hepworth, Romare Beardon, etc. How do their different paintings make you feel? What makes you feel happy? Sad? Frightened? Angry? Make a list of what aspects of each piece of artwork elicits a strong emotion. Compare your list with that of other students groups.

    As students prepare to create original artwork to elicit various moods, play music and encourage students to paint to the rhythm. Move the paint brush to the beat. Change the music - rock, classical, etc. How do the moods of the art pieces vary?

    As a class, select one mood to focus on. How should an artist paint to illicit that mood? While the students collaborate before, have them paint individually, interpreting the mood personally.

    Students work collaboratively to compose a poem that uses terms to express the emotions that are elicited from a class member's painting. Display the poem with the painting.

    Ask students to speak about the use of color in paintings. What color seems to make you feel tired? What does tire look like? How is this different than scared? Discuss the differences of colors, lines, textures, and effects.


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