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Parisian Picnic

Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne inspires original mosaic artwork as you explore Paris, France.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Request several copies of books on Impressionism from the school's library such as Impressionism: Movements in Art by Jessica Gunderson, What Makes a Monet a Monet? by Richard Muhlberger and Impressionism: Eye on Art by Peggy J. Parks. Organize students into small groups and suggest each group research some aspect of Impressionism. Teacher-approved web sites on the topic will also aid students during their research.
    2. Suggest students investigate Cézanne's still-life paintings. Notice that the subject matter often contains fruit and draped fabric. Look at the shapes and colors, and how the artist uses soft color marks. These bits of color create an Impression of the object being painted, which is where the art movement Impressionism got its name.
    3. Now look at a landscape done by Cézanne, or one of his contemporaries, such as Monet. Notice the colors they used in their work. Look carefully at some outdoor scenery. What colors do you see? How do the colors change as the sun moves in the sky? Find several photographs of Parisian landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower. What kinds of food would one take on a picnic in Paris?
    4. Once students have exhausted their research, encourage them to discuss how to organize it in order to incorporate their new knowledge into the creation of original artwork. On a sheet of white construction paper, ask students to sketch a picnic in Paris with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. Include a small image of a Parisian landmark in the background, and a larger picnic still-life in the foreground. Students refer to Cézanne's still-life paintings for ideas.
    5. Students begin their artwork by tearing a variety of colors of construction paper (any color except black) into small pieces to color the Parisian Picnic. Begin with the background, and move forward. Encourage students to layer pieces for a richer effect. Use lighter colors to show areas of light, and darker colors to show shadows. Students use a Crayola Washable Glue Stick to attach the paper to their drawings.
    6. When drawings are filled with torn paper, students use dark Crayola Construction Paper Crayons to add lines and details to their Parisian Picnics. Encourage them to press hard so lines are bold.
    7. With Crayola Scissors, students cut small construction paper labels. Write the French words for foods and other items illustrated in Parisian Picnic.
    8. Students present their artwork to small groups of classmates. Encourage them to incorporate learning about Impressionism from their research into their presentations and how they incorporated this new knowledge into their artwork.
  • Standards

    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, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    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.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

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

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    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.

    VA: Compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Katie Meets The Impressionists by James Mayhew; California Impressionists by Susan Landauer; The Impressionists by Jean-Philippe Chabot

    Invite a local artist to speak with the class about the Impressionist era. Who are the best-known artists of the period? What defines this period from other art eras? After the meeting, students post learning to a class blog.

    Students investigate the life and career of a self-selected artist from the Impressionist era. What was his early life like? What professional training did the artist participate in? What preferences did the artist have? Include any additional information about the artist that the student feels is important in understanding the individual and his work. Prepare an electronic presentation for classmates.

    Organize a field trip to a local museum to view artwork from the Impressionist era. Prior to the trip, brainstorm with students what they would like to focus on while away on the trip. Afterwards, students post learning to a class blog.

    Compare and contrast various artists' approaches to still life paintings or mosaic techniques.


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