Grades/Level: Upper Elementary (3–5)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
Three 60-minute class periods
Author: Marisela Padilla, Fifth Grade Teacher
Ellen Ochoa Learning Center, Los Angeles Unified School District
Claudia Morales, Fifth Grade Teacher
Jaime Escalante Elementary, Los Angeles Unified School District

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Lesson Plans

Lesson Overview

Students will analyze Man with a Hoe by Jean-François Millet, and learn how the artist's use of shape and space creates emphasis. Students will discuss their interpretations of the painting and provide visual evidence to back up their ideas. They will create a persona poem that demonstrates their interpretation of how the man in the painting feels. Students will then illustrate their understanding of how shape and space creates emphasis by drawing a person in their family who works hard.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• recognize that larger objects are placed in the foreground to create the illusion of space in a work of art.
• provide visual evidence to support spoken ideas.
• identify how space and shape are used in paintings to create emphasis.
• create a drawing that illustrates their understanding of emphasis, shape, and space, and of how to create an illusion of space.
• write a persona poem as told from the perspective of a person in a painting.

Materials

• Reproduction of Man with a Hoe by Jean-François Millet
Background Information about Man with a Hoe by Jean-François Millet
• Student Handout: "Persona Poem"
• Pencils or pens
• 9" x 12" white drawing paper
• Colored pencils
• Writing paper

Lesson Steps

Part 1

1. Display the reproduction of Man with a Hoe by Jean-François Millet and allow students to take time to closely look at the work of art. Ask them to share their initial observations.

2. Lead a discussion about the work of art by discussing the following:

  • What do you notice about the man?
  • What do you notice about his pose and facial expression?
  • What do you think he is doing? What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What else do you notice in the foreground of the painting?
  • What do you notice in the background of the painting?
  • Where do you think he is? How can you tell?
  • What do you think the man is thinking? What do you see that makes you say that?

3. Chart students' responses on the board under the following categories as they share:

   Description/Adjectives     Emotions/Feelings     Verbs/Actions -ing     Thoughts

4. Review the background information for Man with a Hoe by Jean-François Millet. Then give background information about the artwork with students. Ask students if they would like to contribute any new adjectives or verbs based on the information given.

5. Pass out to students the handout "Persona Poem" and the pencils or pens.

6. Tell students they will write their own persona poems from the perspective of the man in the painting (written in first-person perspective). While some students may refer to the chart developed by the discussion, and ELL students may want to use the sentence frames on the handout, encourage students to choose their own words and phrases as they write their poem.

7. After students complete a first draft of their persona poems, have them share their drafts with at least three peers, asking for compliments and suggestions for improvement (in that order).

Part 2

1. Revisit the painting Man with a Hoe. Review the background information about the painting as needed. Then tell students you will focus on specific art elements that the artist used to create emphasis. Lead discussion by asking the following questions:
  • What do you notice first? What part of the figure do you notice first? Where does your eye go next?
  • What did the artist do to make the figure stand out?
  • What shapes do you notice? How does the size of the shapes in the foreground compare to the size of shapes in the background?

2. Point out that the figure in the painting draws our attention because of his relative size compared to other shapes in the painting. Tell students to compare the size of the man with the woman in the background. Say the man is also placed in the center of the composition and is surrounded by negative space, and so our eyes are drawn to the man immediately. We are also drawn to look at the man because of leading lines: The horizon line draws us to the center; and the lines of the hoe and the man's arms lead our eye up to the man's face.

3. Introduce and clarify any related art vocabulary as needed, such as:
  • foreground—the part of a scene that appears closest; what is in the front of the middle ground and background
  • background—the part of a scene that appears most distant; what is behind the foreground and middle ground
  • shape—a closed line. Shapes are flat and can express length and width. Shapes can be geometric, like squares and circles; or organic, like free-form or natural shapes.
  • emphasis—the part of the design that catches the viewer's attention. The artist makes one area stand out using size, color, texture, and shape, contrasting it with other areas.

4. Pass out the white drawing paper and colored pencils.

5. Students will create their own works of art, emphasizing a person who works hard. Have students draw a person in their family who works hard. Tell them to create emphasis through the use of shape and space in order to draw attention to the person who works hard. Encourage students to consider the following:
  • How will you pose the person to communicate what the person is doing?
  • What can you add to the background and foreground to show where the person is?
  • Students will draw a background to display a foreground and background.
  • How will you draw the person or thing in the background to show that the person or thing is farther away?
  • How can you draw attention to the person who works hard?

Part 3

1. Pass out the writing paper and tell students to write their own persona poem about their own drawings, following the model of the student handout.

2. Ask students to assess their own poem and drawings. Instruct them to write a self-reflection that describes what changes they would make for improving both the poem and the work of art.

3. Have students display their artworks and poems in a class gallery exhibition.

Man with a Hoe/Millet
Man with a Hoe, Jean-François Millet, 1860–62

Assessment

Students will be assessed on:
• how well they used descriptive language and emotions to write their persona poems.
• whether they wrote from the perspective of the main protagonist.
• their use of shape and space to create emphasis in their artwork.
• creating an illusion of space by drawing shapes in the foreground larger than shapes in the background of their artwork.

Extensions

• Connect to a Social Studies unit on plantation life during colonial times. Have students create a drawing and write a story from the perspective of a person who worked hard on a plantation.
• Connect to the theme of survival in literature. Have students conduct a character analysis of a person in a story who overcomes obstacles. For example, books by Eve Bunting, such as Fly Away Home, A Day's Work, and Cherokee Again, all relate to overcoming struggles through hard work or perseverance.

Standards Addressed

Visual Arts Content Standards for California State Public Schools

Grade Five
2.0 Creative Expression
2.7 Communicate values, opinions, or personal insights through an original work of art.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing
4.1 Identify how selected principles of design are used in a work of art and how they affect personal responses to and evaluation of the work of art.
4.4 Assess their own works of art, using specific criteria, and describe what changes they would make for improvement.

English–Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Grade Five
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
1.5 Clarify and support spoken ideas with evidence and examples.

1.0 Writing Strategies
1.6 Edit and revise manuscripts to improve the meaning and focus of writing by adding, deleting, consolidating, clarifying, and rearranging words and sentences.

Common Core Standards for English Language Arts

Grade Three
Reading
1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
7. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

Writing
4. With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.

Speaking and Listening
1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Grade Four
Reading
1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Speaking and Listening
1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Grade Five
Reading
1. Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Listening and Speaking
1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.