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High [9th-12th] Lesson Plan

Jacob Lawrence-Authentic artist exploration

Created on January 26, 2016 by brittkee

Often the art history element in art education is a project inspired by the artist's work. For this unit, I wanted my students to gain a deeper understanding of the theme in the Great Migration by Jacob Lawrence. As we discussed the issues reflected in his panels, students connected the ideas to social issues in today's society. They listed issues like affordable housing, minimum wage, poverty rate higher among Blacks and Latinos, police brutality, refugees and racial disparities in mass incarceration. We researched images in photo journalism that reflected those issues. Next, students distinguished the positive and negative space to simplify the image. This was an abstract technique that would allow them to simplify the shapes. The artistic process was written out along the way to ensure students understood the techniques they were using. The final product was the painting based on the social issue collage. This unit took about 5 weeks. I teach at a transfer high school which entails sporadic attendance. My classes meet daily for 43 minutes. I included one lesson plan from the unit.

8 Keeps, 1 Likes, 1 Comments

Instructional Objective: SWBAT create a painting by using abstract techniques and their social issue collage.

Jacob Lawrence exemplars
Construction paper
glue sticks
palette knife
acrylic paint
canvas/canvas paper
cups for water

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

Purpose:to identify the process students will take to complete their paintings based on a collage
Build Background: Yesterday, we used a glob of paint as inspiration for a new painting. How did that activity get you thinking about abstract techniques? This semester we have learned a variety of ways to make things abstract. We started with using color and emotion to depict our ideas. We used a splattering and dripping technique, soak stain, simplifying shapes and using positive and negative space. Today, you will articulate your artistic process for the painting. Take out your sheet from Tuesday, titled- My Artistic Process. Go to #4-Based on yesterday’s experimentation Answer these questions in that space. How will you paint your collage? Will you use the underpainting technique? Will you cut out positive and negative shapes and outline those shapes on your canvas? Will you further abstract the image? Will you add details to make it more realistic?
Key Vocabulary: soak stain, abstract, medium, palette knife, palette, acrylic paint, positive space, negative space, underpainting, color wash
Instructional Steps:
1.Take out My Artistic Process sheet
2.Answer questions on the sheet.
3.Gather supplies
•Palette knife
•Cup of water
•Paper towels
•Variety of brushes
•At table- masking tape, paint, scissors
•May need- additional photo images, paper clips
Work Period/Guided Practice
(Steps and Directions)

Take a look at the Jacob Lawrence images at your table. What do you notice about his painting process? What makes you say that? How are you inspired by his work? How will your work reflect his style?

1.Tape down the canvas paper.
2.After brief conference with Ms.Irvin- sketch or underpaint the collage shapes/image.
3.Focus on 1 color at a time.
4.Lay down all the shapes in that color.
5.Decide whether you will use masking tape to create any hard edges.
6.Build your layers, after each layer is completely dry.
7.Brainstorm ideas or plans in your sketchbook.

(Independent Work-25 minutes)

Clean-up- 5 minutes

Teacher observations, student responses, 1st layer of painting

Feel free to contact me for the unit plan!


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[9-12 Proficient] Students conceive and create works of visual art that demonstrate an understanding of how the communication of their ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes they use

Visual Arts Standard 3:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

[9-12 Proficient] Students reflect on how artworks differ visually, spatially, temporally, and functionally, and describe how these are related to history and culture

Visual Arts Standard 4:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

[9-12 Proficient] Students differentiate among a variety of historical and cultural contexts in terms of characteristics and purposes of works of art

Visual Arts Standard 5:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

[9-12 Proficient] Students describe meanings of artworks by analyzing how specific works are created and how they relate to historical and cultural contexts

Visual Arts Standard 6:
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

[9-12 Proficient] Students compare characteristics of visual arts within a particular historical period or style with ideas, issues, or themes in the humanities or sciences

Jacob Lawrence

African Art, Western Art

Acrylic, Collage

English/Language Arts, History/Social Studies

  • imagiNATION 04/01/2016 at 07:59am
    Hi, just came across this lesson plan and I would love to do something similar with my students. Would you mind emailing me your unit plan or any other resources you think would be helpful at Thanks so much!