Lesson Plans: English Language Arts

Education

Lesson Plans & Classroom Materials:

English Language Arts

About Face: Copley’s Portrait of a Colonial Silversmith

About Face: Copley’s Portrait of a Colonial Silversmith explores the lives and work of two artists within colonial Boston prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution: portrait painter John Singleton Copley and silversmith Nathaniel Hurd.

See also John Singleton Copley’s Unfinished Portrait of Nathaniel Hurd, ca. 1765.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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Copley, John Singleton, Unfinished Portrait of Nathaniel Hurd (1729-1777)

Copley, John Singleton
Unfinished Portrait of Nathaniel Hurd (1729-1777)


Albert Bierstadt’s The Sierras Near Lake Tahoe,
California
, 1865

Bierstadt’s paintings of the West gave nineteenth-century Americans a spectacular view of their expanding nation and its unique wonders. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Albert Bierstadt, The Sierras Near Lake Tahoe, California

Albert Bierstadt
The Sierras Near Lake Tahoe, California


American Impressionism: Paintings from The Phillips Collection

Explore American Impressionism from this 2008 exhibition. Lesson plans include Capturing an Impression (Art), Impressionism in Literature (ELA) and The Landscape Architecture Movement (Social Studies).

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Ancient Egypt for Young Children

Mummies and more! Activities for pre-school to 3rd grade. Art, Math, Music, Literacy, Science, Social Studies lessons inspired by the coffins of Pa-debehu-Aset.

See also Egypt in the Art Room.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Music, Science, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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Egyptian mummy on loan from the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

Egyptian mummy on loan from the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts


Animals in Art

Using objects in the Gallery’s collection, explore animals as pets, animals that work, animals in the wild, animal habitats, animals in fables, animals in myths, animals as symbols, and animals as teachers. Can be used as a pre-visit with the Animals in Art tour.

Standards: Art, ELA, Science, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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Attributed to M. W. Hopkins, Pierrepont Edward Lacey  (1832 - after 1860) and His Dog, Gun

Attributed to M. W. Hopkins
Pierrepont Edward Lacey (1832 – after 1860) and His Dog, Gun


Art Alive: Back from the Orchard

Interactive activities&emdash;looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting&emdash;based on Eastman Johnson’s painting Back from the Orchard.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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Eastman Johnson, Back from the Orchard

Eastman Johnson
Back from the Orchard


Art Alive: Beach at Blue Point

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on William Glacken’s painting Beach at Blue Point.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Music, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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William Glackens, Beach at Blue Point

William Glackens
Beach at Blue Point


Art Alive: Boomtown

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on Thomas Hart Benton’s painting Boomtown.

See also Thomas Hart Benton’s Boomtown, 1928.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Music, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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Thomas Hart Benton, Boomtown

Thomas Hart Benton
Boomtown


Art Alive: Genesee Oaks

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on Asher Brown Durand’s painting Genesee Oaks.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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Asher Brown Durand, Genesee Oaks

Asher Brown Durand
Genesee Oaks


Art Alive: Ice Cream Cones

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on Reginald Marsh’s painting Ice Cream Cones.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA

Grade Level: Elementary

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,

Reginald Marsh
Ice Cream Cones


Art Alive: Pittsford on the Erie Canal

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on George Harvey’s Pittsford on the Erie Canal.

See also George Harvey’s Pittsford on the Erie Canal: A Sultry Calm, 1837.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Music, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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George Harvey, Pittsford on the Erie Canal

George Harvey
Pittsford on the Erie Canal


Art Alive: Summer Street Scene in Harlem

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on Jacob Lawrence’s Summer Street Scene in Harlem.

See also The 1920s: The Migrants Arrive and Cast Their Ballots and Jacob Lawrence’s Summer Street Scene in Harlem, 1948.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA

Grade Level: Elementary

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Jacob Lawrence, Summer Street Scene in Harlem

Jacob Lawrence
Summer Street Scene in Harlem


Art Alive: Sunday Morning

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on Jerome Myers’ painting Sunday Morning.

See also Jerome Myers’s Sunday Morning, 1907 and Learning to Look, Looking to Learn: Sunday Morning model lesson plan.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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Jerome Myers, Sunday Morning

Jerome Myers
Sunday Morning


Art Alive: The Fox and the Heron

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on Frans Snyders’ painting Aesop’s Fable of The Fox and the Heron.

See also Picturing the Story: Narrative Arts and the Stories they Tell.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA

Grade Level: Elementary

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Frans Snyders, The Fox and the Heron

Frans Snyders
The Fox and the Heron


Art Alive: Towing a Boat, Honfleur

Interactive activities—looking, imagining, questioning and reflecting—based on Claude Monet’s painting Towing a Boat, Honfleur.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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Claude Monet, Towing a Boat, Honfleur

strong>Claude Monet
Towing a Boat, Honfleur


Art Speaks: Reading, Re-interpreting and Re-creating Works of Art

Student and Teacher Guide to MAG’s 2004 exhibition Better Things, featuring photographic readings of the collection by Douglas Holleley.

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Autumn Brook

Use MAG’s visual literacy “Learning to Look, Looking to Learn” model, to explore George Bellow’s painting Autumn Brook.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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George Bellows, Autumn Brook

George Bellows
Autumn Brook


DeWitt Clinton Boutelle’s The Indian Hunter, 1846

Boutelle poignantly portrays the impact of Euro-American expansion on Native American culture. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

See also The Indian Hunter.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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DeWitt Clinton Boutelle, The Indian Hunter

DeWitt Clinton Boutelle
The Indian Hunter


Edgar Degas: Figures in Motion

Lesson plan to accompany MAG’s 2002 exhibition of the same title. Includes artwork in MAG’s collection.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Edgar Degas, Dancers

Edgar Degas
Dancers


Evening Group

Use MAG’s visual literacy “Learning to Look, Looking to Learn” model, to explore George Bellow’s painting Evening Group.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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George Bellows, Evening Group

George Bellows
Evening Group


Genesee Oaks

Teach American history through American art using Asher B. Durand’s painting of Genesee Oaks. Local geography/history connection!

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Asher Brown Durand, Genesee Oaks

Asher Brown Durand
Genesee Oaks


George Harvey’s Pittsford on the Erie Canal – A Sultry Calm, 1837

In this painting, Harvey portrays nineteenth-century America’s romantic view of nature, as well as the young country’s pride in its technological mastery. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

See also Art Alive: Pittsford on the Erie Canal.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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George Harvey, Pittsford on the Erie Canal

George Harvey
Pittsford on the Erie Canal


George Luks’s Boy with Dice, 1923-24

Boy with Dice conveys George Luks’s affection for New York City’s workingclass children. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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George Luks, Boy with Dice

George Luks
Boy with Dice


Georgia O’Keeffe

One Artist—Many Classroom Connections! Explore the art of Georgia O’Keeffe and her interest in the preservation of her paintings. From MAG’s 2006 exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe: Color and Conservation.

See also The Making of Small World Poems Inspired by the Art of Georgia O’Keeffe.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Georgia O'Keeffe, Jawbone and Fungus

Georgia O’Keeffe
Jawbone and Fungus


Guidelines for Leading a Guided Looking Process in the Classroom

Use these guidelines to create visual literacy lesson plans using any object. Try the Learning to Look, Looking to learn model lesson plans to see the guidelines in use.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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students working with art materials in the classroom

Photo by Ria Casartelli


The Happy Survivor by Gregory Van Maanen and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Using artwork by Rochester artist Gregory Van Maanen and Timothy O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried, students will experience the impact of the Vietnam War through multiple lenses. Accompanied MAG’s 2009 exhibition, Gregory Van Maanen: The Happy Survivor. See also the War Notebook that accompanied the exhibition.

Standards: Art, ELA

Grade Level: Secondary

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painting by Gregory Van Maanen

painting by Gregory Van Maanen


Honoring Heroes: American History and Public Sculpture

Explore American history and public sculpture through the art & life of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, from MAG’s 2004 exhibition. Includes Rochester connections.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Shaw Memorial, Soldier Head

Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Shaw Memorial, Soldier Head


Jacob Lawrence’s Summer Street Scene in Harlem, 1948

Jacob Lawrence’s modernist painting captures the exuberance of post-World War II Harlem. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

See also The 1920s: The Migrants Arrive and Cast Their Ballots and Art Alive: Summer Street Scene in Harlem.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Jacob Lawrence, Summer Street Scene in Harlem

Jacob Lawrence
Summer Street Scene in Harlem


James Henry Beard’s The Night Before the Battle, 1865

The Night Before the Battle, painted shortly before the end of the Civil War, “makes the spectator glad that peace is come.” This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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James Henry Beard, The Night Before the Battle, 1865

James Henry Beard
The Night Before the Battle, 1865


Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s Famous Names, 1998

In Famous Names, references to the artist’s Native American and European heritage are combined and transformed into a powerful statement of contemporary identity. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Famous Names

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Famous Names


Jerome Myers’s Sunday Morning, 1907

Sunday Morning provides a loving glimpse of a New York immigrant neighborhood in the early twentieth century. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

See also Art Alive: Sunday Morning and Learning to Look, Looking to Learn: Sunday Morning model lesson plan.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Jerome Myers, Sunday Morning

Jerome Myers
Sunday Morning


John Koch’s Interlude, 1963

Artists’ works reflect the values of their times as well as their own points of view. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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John Koch, Interlude

John Koch
Interlude


John Singleton Copley’s Unfinished Portrait of Nathaniel Hurd, ca. 1765

Copley’s portrait of the colonial silversmith offers a view of pre-Revolutionary Bostonians: who they were and how they wanted to be seen. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

See also About Face: Copley’s Portrait of a Colonial Silversmith.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Copley, John Singleton, Unfinished Portrait of Nathaniel Hurd (1729-1777)

John Singleton Copley
Unfinished Portrait of Nathaniel Hurd (1729-1777)


John Sloan’s Election Night, 1907

Election Night captures the excitement&emdash;social, political, technological, and even artistic&emdash;of the early twentieth century in the United States. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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John Sloan, Election Night

John Sloan
Election Night


Morning on the River, ca. 1911-12

Morning on the River celebrates the energy and beauty of an urbanizing America in the early twentieth century. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Jonas Lie, Morning on the River, ca. 1911-12

Jonas Lie
Morning on the River, ca. 1911-12


The Killing of Richard II

This interdisciplinary lesson explores Art as political propaganda, story telling and as a reflection of its time and culture.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Francis Wheatley, The Killing of Richard II

Francis Wheatley
The Killing of Richard II


Learning to Look, Looking to Learn: Genesee Oaks model lesson plan

Visual literacy model lesson plan includes worksheets guiding students through the process of looking at an art object and understanding its story.

See also Genesee Oaks, Art Alive: Genesee Oaks.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Asher Brown Durand, Genesee Oaks

Asher Brown Durand
Genesee Oaks


Learning to Look, Looking to Learn: Peeling Onions model lesson plan

Visual literacy model lesson plan includes worksheets guiding students through the process of looking at an art object and understanding its story.

See also Lilly Martin Spencer’s Peeling Onions, ca. 1852.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Lily Martin Spencer, Peeling Onions

Lily Martin Spencer
Peeling Onions


Learning to Look, Looking to Learn: Sunday Morning model lesson plan

Visual literacy model lesson plan includes worksheets guiding students through the process of looking at an art object and understanding its story.

See also Art Alive: Sunday Morning and Jerome Myers’s Sunday Morning, 1907

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Jerome Myers, Sunday Morning

Jerome Myers
Sunday Morning


Leaving for the Country: George Bellows at Woodstock

Explore the world of the Woodstock artist colony through George Bellows’ paintings Autumn Brook and Evening Group. From MAG’s 2003 exhibition.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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George Bellows, Autumn Brook

George Bellows
Autumn Brook


Lilly Martin Spencer’s Peeling Onions, ca. 1852

Peeling Onions presents a sympathetic view of mid-nineteenth-century domestic life in America by an artist who knew that world intimately. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

See also Learning to Look, Looking to Learn: Peeling Onions model lesson plan.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Lily Martin Spencer, Peeling Onions

Lily Martin Spencer
Peeling Onions


The Making of Small World Poems inspired by the art of Georgia O’Keeffe

Local educator M.J. Iuppa explores the technique of making Small World Poems inspired by art.

See also Georgia O’Keeffe lesson plan.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA,

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Georgia O'Keeffe, Over Blue

Georgia O’Keeffe
Over Blue


Picturing My America

Explore immigration and the complex communities we live in. Includes art making, art analysis, and a link to The Rochester Homelands Exhibition.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Jerome Myers, Sunday Morning

Jerome Myers
Sunday Morning


Picturing Ourselves: Teaching with Visual Documents

Peter Pappas uses art & photographs to analyze & discuss American history.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Thomas Hart Benton, Boomtown

Thomas Hart Benton
Boomtown


Picturing the Story: Narrative Arts and the Stories they Tell

An interactive website that uses works of art as a springboard for an interdisciplinary approach to culture, environment, language, and learning. It was developed for classroom use, using selected narrative works of world art from the permanent collection of the Memorial Art Gallery.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Science, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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screenshot from Picturing the Story website

Ralston Crawford’s Whitestone Bridge, 1939-40

Whitestone Bridge is a visual interpretation of the mid-twentieth-century fascination with technology and its promises for the future. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Ralston Crawford, Whitestone Bridge

Ralston Crawford
Whitestone Bridge


Recycling the Past

Contemporary artist Willie Cole reinterprets his African roots: from Chi wara Crest to Sears Ross tji-wara (includes a worksheet on making art from recycled materials).

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Willie Cole, Sears Ross tji wara (mother and child)

Willie Cole
Sears Ross tji wara (mother and child)


The Renaissance

A Sixth Grade Interdisciplinary Unit on the Renaissance created by Pittsford Middle School.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Music, Science, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary

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The Rochester Homelands Exhibition

Explore the 1920 Rochester Homelands Exhibition, in which the Gallery collaborated with the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Education and the city administration in organizing a hugely successful 10-day exhibition celebrating the arts & culture of immigrant citizens.

Students explore original photographs & articles documenting Rochester’s celebration of its diverse population in 1920; includes guiding questions and art activities.

Standards: Art, Civics, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Poster by public school students, 1920, for the Homelands Exhibition

Poster by public school students, 1920, for the Homelands Exhibition


Seeing America through Artist’s Eyes

17 lessons explore objects in the Gallery’s American collection, supplementing a visit to our American Gallery and the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Screenshot from the Seeing America website

The Story of Things: Writing about Art

xplore strategies that enable students to:

  • Investigate visual materials
  • Make inferences on their observations
  • Develop critiques that reflect understanding

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Frans Snyders, The Fox and the Heron

Frans Snyders
The Fox and the Heron


Teaching American History through American Art:
Rochester and the Genesee Valley

Explore art of Rochester, the Genesee River Valley and the Erie Canal.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Music, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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Colin Campbell Cooper, Main Street Bridge

Colin Campbell Cooper
Main Street Bridge


Thomas Hart Benton’s Boomtown, 1928

Boomtown captures the spirit of a Texas oil town in the 1920s. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

See also Art Alive: Boomtown.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Thomas Hart Benton, Boomtown

Thomas Hart Benton
Boomtown


Thomas Ridgeway Gould’s The West Wind, 1876

The West Wind personifies the confidence of Americans as they celebrated the nation’s one hundredth birthday in 1876. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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Thomas Ridgeway Gould, The West Wind, 1876

Thomas Ridgeway Gould
The West Wind, 1876


Visual Literacy: “Learning to Look, Looking to Learn”

Use these resources to create visual literacy lesson plans using any object.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Science, Social Studies

Grade Level: Elementary, Secondary

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students working with art materials in the classroom

Photo by Ria Casartelli


Summer Breezes, by 2006 Rochester Biennial artist Carol Taylor, was inspired by Tiffany Studio's Sunset Scene.

Summer Breezes, by 2006 Rochester Biennial artist Carol Taylor, was inspired by Tiffany Studio’s Sunset Scene.


William Gropper’s The Opposition, 1942

William Gropper fiercely satirizes the corruption and hypocrisy of the American Congress. This lesson plan accompanies an essay in the Seeing America collection catalogue.

See also The Opposition and Teaching American History Through American Art: Politically Aware Artists.

Curriculum Connections: Art, ELA, Social Studies

Grade Level: Secondary

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William Gropper
The Opposition


Some offsite links in these lesson plans may become outdated. They can often be found by plugging the url into the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

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