SAMPLE LESSON PLANS
The following lesson plans can be used as models for preservice teachers on
ways to integrate visual art production and appreciation into content-area
instruction. A lesson plan is provided for three- and four-year-olds, for
kindergarteners, for first graders, for second graders, and for third graders.
Lesson Plan for Three- and Four-Year-Olds
The students will investigate and understand that a habitat is a natural
environment that provides for the life needs of a living organism.
The students will identify the life cycle stages of a living organism.
Through participation in this lesson, the children will:
Identify the stages of egg, tadpole, pollywog, and adult in a frog’s life cycle.
Recognize the pond as a habitat for frogs.
Identify Claude Monet as a visual artist.
Discriminate between fantasy and reality.
Remind the children of the previous lesson on the life cycle of a frog. Show
photographs from the previous lesson of each stage in the life cycle and ask the
children to identify each stage.
Tell the children that today we will be reading a story about a family of frogs
who meet a famous artist. Provide a focus for listening by telling the children
that at the end of the story you will be asking them to describe the place where
the frogs lived.
Read Once upon a Lily Pad by Joan Sweeney to the children. Return to the focus
for listening by asking the children where the frog family in the story lived.
Record their answer on the board or on chart paper. Explain that the pond in this
story was the habitat for the frog family. Write the word habitat on the board.
Explain that a habitat is a natural environment that provides everything an
animal needs to live. Give examples of how the children’s needs for air, food,
and shelter are met in their habitat.
Ask the children to think about the story and how the frog family’s needs for air,
food, and shelter were met in their pond habitat. Refer back to illustrations and
story lines. Point out and discuss the illustration of the frog family hibernating
during the winter.
Explain to the children that part of this story is real and part of it is fiction
(explain these terms if necessary). Elicit from them that the story of Hector and
Henriette and Monsieur Crow is fiction; we know that because animals do not
really talk. Share with them that the real part of the story is the artist; there
really was an old artist who used to spend hours painting pictures of the pond
near his home and that his pictures were so beautiful and so unusual that he
became famous all over the world. His name was Claude Monet.
Show the children a photograph of Claude Monet. Have them compare the
photograph with the illustrations of Monet in the story. Share with the children
enlarged reproductions of Monet’s lily pad paintings. Ask them to describe the
paintings and ask them whether the paintings look like photographs of a pond.
Explain that Monet did not paint things exactly as he saw them. Instead, he
painted his impressions of the things he saw. Ask the children whether they see
Hector and Henriette in the reproductions of Monet’s painting!
Tell the children that today we are going to paint pictures of Hector and
Henriette’s pond habitat, just like Monet did. Ask the children to include things in
their pond paintings that would meet the frogs’ needs for air, food, and shelter.
Provide the materials for children to do their paintings. Circulate among the
children and ask them to describe the things they are including in their pond
After the paintings have dried, divide the children into small groups and ask each
child to tell his or her group about his or her painting and the things included in
Sweeney, J. (1995). Once upon a Lily Pad. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
newsprint or manila paper for each child
watercolor paints for each child
cups of water for each child
paintbrushes for each child
enlarged reproductions of Monet’s water lily paintings. Available online at
During this lesson, did the children:
1. correctly identify the stages in the frog’s life cycle from the photographs?
2. include food and shelter for the frogs in the habitat paintings?
3. identify real and fictional components of the story?
Kindergarten Lesson Plan
Developed by Jill Englebright Fox, Ph.D.
The students will investigate and understand basic needs and life processes of
plants and animals. Key concepts include the following:
Living things change as they grow and need food, water, and air to survive.
Plants and animals live and die (go through a life cycle).
Offspring of plants and animals are similar to but not identical to their parents
and to one another.
Through participation in this lesson, learners will:
Demonstrate understanding of the life cycle of a plant through visual art.
Identify stages in a plant’s life cycle.
Recognize Vincent Van Gogh as a masterpiece artist.
Recognize that different artists have individual interpretations of the same
Show the children a live (or at least a realistic silk) sunflower. Ask them to
identify it as a plant or an animal. Write the word sunflower on the board and
ask the children how the flower could have gotten its name. Share with the
children the book Sunflower House. Tell them that this is the story of a little girl
who watches sunflowers grow in her backyard. Provide a focus for listening by
saying that at the end of the story you will ask them how the little girl knows she
will get to play in the sunflowers next summer.
Read the book to the children. Return to the focus for listening by asking them
the following questions:
How did the little girl know she would be able to play in her sunflower house
Let’s think about what she will do with those seeds next year.
Help the children construct a diagram of the sunflower’s life cycle, beginning with
planting the seeds, plants sprouting above the ground, water and sunshine
helping the flowers to bloom, and the plants withering to stalks and dropping
seeds. Encourage individual children from the group to draw each part of the
diagram on the board.
Distribute sunflower seeds for the children to examine and taste. Explain that oil
comes out of the seeds that may be used in cooking or in other food products
such as crackers or chips. Tell the children that the sunflower, the seeds, and
some sunflower oil products will be available for them to examine in the
Discovery Center for the next few days.
Introduce the book Camille and the Sunflowers to the children. Provide a focus
for listening by telling the children that at the end of the story you will ask them
to repeat some of the words the author uses to describe sunflowers.
Read the book to the children. Return to the focus for listening by making a list
of the descriptors used by the author. Record the list on the board. (You may
need to revisit certain pages in the book to help children remember the
descriptors.) Explain to the children that this story is based on the life of Vincent
Van Gogh, who was a real artist who lived over 100 years ago in France. (Help
the children locate France on the class map.) Explain that although Van Gogh’s
painting of sunflowers is probably the most famous, many other artists have also
painted sunflowers, and each artist’s representation is a little different. Share
other reproductions with the children. Compare those reproductions with the list
of descriptors on the board. Have the children identify the colors used by each
artist in the various paintings.
Provide yellow, white, green, black, and brown paint for the children to paint
their own sunflowers.
Throughout the week, have children use their paintings to make a diagram of the
life cycle of the sunflower. Real seeds can be used for the first stage. Children
can draw the young plants with crayons in the second stage. Their sunflower
paintings will represent the third stage, and the drying/dying plants in the fourth
stage can also be drawn with crayons. A sun and rain cloud can be added to
indicate the plants’ needs. Talk to the children about each stage and the plant’s
needs as they work. Children may dictate an explanation of each stage as you
record their words on an index card to be displayed along with their finished
Bunting, E. (1996). Sunflower House. New York: Harcourt Brace.
Anholt, L. (1994). Camille and the Sunflowers. Hauppage, NY: Barron’s
products containing sunflower seed oil
manila paper (8½" x 10") for each child’s sunflower painting
large sheet of butcher paper for each child’s life cycle diagram
— The Sunflower by Gustav Klimt (1906–7)
— Farm Garden with Sunflowers by Gustav Klimt (1905)
— Sunflowers, Garden at Petit Gennevilliers by Gustave Caillebotte (c. 1885)
— Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh (1889)
— Sunflower, New Mexico by Georgia O’Keeffe (1935)
— Adobe Sunflowers by Therese Eaton (1996)
During this lesson, did the children:
1. Accurately reproduce each stage of the sunflower’s life cycle?
2. Correctly sequence the stages of the sunflower’s life cycle?
3. Identify Vincent Van Gogh as a masterpiece artist?
4. Use an individual style in creating his or her sunflower?
Grade 1 Lesson Plan
Developed by Jill Englebright Fox, Ph.D.
The learners will explore the environment with their senses and engage in
meaningful activities with language and literacy.
The students will locate the local community, the state, the United States, the
seven continents, and the four oceans on a map and a globe.
The students will use maps, pictures, and stories to compare the geography
of the local community with that of other communities in the state, th e United
States, and the world.
This lesson plan will be used at the end of a unit on community. Show the
children the book Almost Famous Daisy! and explain that this is the story of a girl
and her dog who go traveling to many different communities and use a special
means to stay in communication with their family. Provide a focus for listening by
telling the children that at the end of the story you will ask them to identify that
special means of communication.
Read the book to the children. Return to the focus for listening by asking the
How did Daisy and Duggie communicate with their family?
What kinds of pictures were on the postcards?
Have you ever received a postcard from someone? Tell us who it was from
and where that person was traveling.
Share with the children a set of sample postcards from various places near and
far. Discuss the places pictured on the postcards and share any messages that
may be on the backs.
Assign children to small groups. Provide each group a postcard from a faraway
place, depicting a geographic region much different from their own. Help the
children to identify that place and locate it on the classroom map. Ask each
group to compare the location of their postcard to that of their home community
(near, far, north, south, etc.). Ask each group to:
1. Describe their postcard. Is it a dry desert with cacti and sandy soil? Is it a
beach with palm trees and white-capped waves? Is it a tall mountain covered
with snow and pine trees?
2. Design and create a postcard that shows the community they live in. Ask
them to include characteristics or landmarks of the community that have
been discussed in previous lessons.
3. Write or dictate to you a message to be sent to the faraway place on the first
postcard that describes some of the differences between their community and
Ask each group to ―pair share‖ their postcards and messages with another
group. Display the postcards on a wall or bulletin board. Include the set of
faraway postcards in the class Discovery Center for closer examination by all the
Kidd, R. (1997). Almost Famous Daisy! London: Frances Lincoln.
set of postcards depicting faraway places (beach, desert, mountains, etc.).
Some of these postcards should have messages written on the back.
one sheet of poster board for each small group
crayons and markers for drawing
writing paper for drafting a postcard message
1. Were the children able to brainstorm familiar landmarks of the local
2. Did the children compare elements of the faraway postcard and the local
3. Were the children able to discuss and compare the relative location of their
faraway postcard on the classroom map?
Grade 2 Lesson Plan
Developed by Jill Englebright Fox, Ph.D.
The students will write stories, letters, and simple explanations.
— Generate ideas before writing.
— Organize writing to include a beginning, middle, and end.
— Revise writing for clarity.
— Use available technology.
The students will edit final copies for grammar, capitalization, punctuation,
— Use declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences.
— Capitalize all proper nouns and words at the beginning of sentences.
— Use correct spelling for frequently used words.
Through participation in this lesson the students will:
Use the writing process to develop a fictional story.
Use periods, question marks, and exclamation points appropriately at the end
of sentences in the story.
Identify the beginning, middle, and endings of their stories.
Show the children the book The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau . Tell them
that today we will be reading a book about an unusual artist whose work
generated a lot of excitement. Provide a focus for listening by telling the children
that at the end of the story you will ask them to identify the changes that
occurred in your reading voice whenever something exciting occurred.
Read the book, making sure to reflect excitement in your voice at the
appropriate times. After reading, go back to the focus for listening and discuss
the following questions:
What were some of the most exciting incidents in the book?
How did my reading voice change during those times?
What symbol would we look for at the end of a sentence to tell us that
something exciting is happening?
Ask one of the children to draw this symbol on the board. Tell the children that it
is called an exclamation point and that we use it to show excitement in
exclamatory sentences. Ask the children to brainstorm examples of
Ask the children to name other symbols we could use at the end of a sentence.
Have children draw those symbols one at a time on the board, provide the
names (question mark, period) and the types of sentences in which they are
used (interrogative, imperative). Brainstorm examples of each.
Tell the children that today we will be using all three of those symbols in our
writing. Assign the children to small groups of three or four. Give each group a
masterpiece reproduction. Ask the children to work together to tell an oral story
of what could happen if that painting came alive in the same way as the artwork
of Felix Clousseau. As the small groups begin to generate their story lines,
provide them with an organizational sheet that will help them to organize the
beginning, middle, and end of their story in writing. Encourage children to use
imperative, exclamatory, and interrogative sentences and the appropriate ending
symbols in their writing. Provide appropriate assistance with editing and spelling,
but encourage the children to edit their own work. Ask children to produce the
final copies of their stories on the computer using available word-processing
Organizing Your Story
Beginning: What is the setting? Did you describe the main characters?
What early action will take place?
Middle: What is the most exciting action in your story?
End: How will your characters resolve their problems?
For children who are not at this level of independent writing, share a
reproduction with them in a small or large group setting, brainstorm ideas of
what could happen if the painting came alive, and decide on a story line. On an
organizational sheet, have children identify the beginning, middle, and end of
their story in writing. Take dictation as children tell the story, and point out to
them each time an exclamatory, interrogative, or imperative sentence is used.
Give reproductions to individual children and ask each to draw a picture of what
would happen if that painting came alive in their classroom. Have each child
dictate a sentence to you describing the action. Ask them to select the
appropriate ending symbol for their interrogative, imperative, or exclamatory
Ask small groups to ―pair share‖ their reproductions and stories with each other.
Have group members identify sentences in their stories which they ended with a
question mark, exclamation point, or period. Display the children’s work and the
corresponding reproductions in the hall under the heading ―The Incredible
Painting of Mary Munford Second Graders.‖
Agee, J. (1988). The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau. New York: Farrar,
Straus & Giroux
masterpiece reproductions for each group
organizational sheets (see attached)
1. Did all students in the group participate in the brainstorming process?
2. Were the children able to identify the beginning, middle, and end of their
stories on the organizational sheets?
3. In the final copies, did the children edit for grammar, spelling, capitalization,
Grade 3 Lesson Plan
Developed by Jill Englebright Fox, Ph.D.
The students will investigate and understand simple machines and their uses.
Key concepts include:
a. Types of simple machines (lever, screw, pulley, wheel and axle, inclined
plane, and wedge)
b. How simple machines function
c. Compound machines (scissors, wheelbarrow, and bicycle)
d. Examples of simple and compound machines found in the school, home, and
Through participation in this lesson, the students will:
Learn about the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci.
Use tools to take apart an everyday machine.
Record observations of that machine by drawing.
Identify simple and compound machines.
Use descriptive writing.
Remind students of the current unit of study on machines. Review the definitions
of simple and compound machines. Brainstorm and list on the board examples of
each. Share with the students that today they will be learning about one of the
world’s greatest artists—a man who was also an architect, a scientist, a
mathematician, and an inventor of machines.
Introduce to the students the book Da Vinci by Mike Venezia. Show the cover of
the book. Provide a focus for listening by telling the students that at the end of
the book you will ask them to name at least two of the machines that da Vinci
planned to invent.
Read the book, and share the illustrations and the cartoon conversations with
Return to the focus for listening question: ask the students to name at least two
of the machines da Vinci planned to invent (a helicopter, an armored car, a giant
crossbow, and a war machine are pictured). Ask the students whether they recall
the reason that da Vinci made drawings of his machines (to show people how
the machines would work). Show children enlarged reproductions of Da Vinci’s
machine drawings. Discuss the written notes da Vinci included (providing
translations if possible) to explain his drawings. Explain that da Vinci often wrote
his notes backward so that others could not read them and steal his ideas.
Divide the children into pairs and provide each pair with a machine and an
appropriately sized screwdriver. Ask each pair to identify their machine and
describe what it is used for in writing. Ask each pair to produce a Da Vinci-style
pencil sketch of their machine. After the sketches are complete, ask each pair to
use the screwdrivers to take their machines apart. Have the students sketch
each part of their machine and label pulleys, levers, springs, axles, wheels, and
the like that may be inside.
When the sketching and labeling are complete, ask each pair to share their
machines and sketches with the whole group. Discuss how the parts of each
machine help it to fulfill its purpose. Remind the children that sketching, as Da
Vinci demonstrated, is a useful way of recording and explaining ideas and
information for other people.
Venezia, M. (1989). Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Da Vinci .
Chicago: Children’s Press
enlarged reproductions of Da Vinci’s machine drawings. Available online at
drawing paper for each pair of students
screwdrivers for each pair of students
machine for each pair of students (examples: stapler, windup
alarm clock, TV remote control, toy car)
During this lesson, did the students:
1. Identify their machines and describe the uses in writing?
2. Use the screwdriver to take the machine apart?
3. Identify wheels, levers, axles, pulleys inside their machines?