Grades/Level: Lower Elementary (K–2), Upper Elementary (3–5), Middle School (6–8), High School (9–12), Adult Learners
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, ESL
Time Required: Single Class Lesson
1-hour class period
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Language through Art Contents


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Art Vocabulary (PDF, 3MB)

Lesson Overview

This lesson focuses on different exterior spaces depicted in works of art. Students practice using vocabulary associated with the weather and how people react to the sea. Activities in this section teach students about some of the elements of art (color and line), adjectives, and two kinds of sentences (declarative and imperative).

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• write declarative sentences related to what figures are doing in a work of art.
• write imperative sentences related to what figures are doing in a work of art.

Materials

• Reproduction of A Calm at a Mediterranean Port by Claude-Joseph Vernet
• Reproduction of A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast by Claude-Joseph Vernet
• Information for Teaching about A Calm at a Mediterranean Port by Claude-Joseph Vernet
• Information for Teaching about A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast by Claude-Joseph Vernet
• Teacher Resource: "Art Vocabulary"
• Paper and pencils
• One sheet of transparency film
• Dry-erase marker
• Student Handout: "Declarative Sentences/Imperative Sentences"

Lesson Steps

1. Introduce students to different types of lines by illustrating them on the board:

  • Thin lines, thick lines, squiggly lines, straight lines, curved lines, vertical lines, horizontal lines, diagonal lines, long lines, and dotted lines.
  • As you introduce the different types of lines, you can have students draw them in the air with their index finger.

2. Remind students about directional phrases (right and left, as well as top, bottom, center, etc.). Pass out paper and pencils and instruct students to draw different types of lines on their paper in response to your directional phrases. Examples: Draw a vertical line in the center of the paper. Draw a horizontal line to the left of this line.

3. Show students an image of A Calm at a Mediterranean Port. Ask students to share what they see in the painting. Ask students to discuss what they think is happening on a calm day by the Mediterranean Sea. If necessary, discuss the definition of a sea. If possible, locate the Mediterranean Sea on a map. (See the Information for Teaching about A Calm at a Mediterranean Port by Claude-Joseph Vernet.)

4. Show students an image of A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast. Ask students to share what they see. Ask students to discuss what they think is happening on a stormy day by the Mediterranean Sea. Tell students that the artist meant for the two paintings to be shown together. They are the same size and depict two views along the Mediterranean Sea. (See the Information for Teaching about A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast by Claude-Joseph Vernet.)

5. Ask students to think about how the people are responding to one another in each of the two paintings. Ask students also to think about how the sea is causing the people's reactions in each painting. Point out the lines in both paintings and describe how they help "tell" the story of the painting. For example: A Calm has a lot of horizontal and vertical lines (and the people are calmly interacting with each other), while the sharp diagonals of A Storm help to illustrate the chaos of the scene (where the people are excitedly gesturing to each other). You can place a transparency over the image and use a dry-erase marker to demonstrate this point, as illustrated in the downloadable lesson plan above.

6. Tell students that a declarative sentence is one that declares something (makes a statement). Review the present progressive by forming declarative sentences using the following sentence frame: I am _______________. You can demonstrate by using physical motions. Examples: I am thinking. I am sitting.

7. Distribute the student handout "Declarative Sentences/Imperative Sentences" and have students fill in the speech bubbles on the front of the handout with the appropriate declarative sentences.

8. Tell students that an imperative sentence is one that orders someone to do something (gives a command). You can demonstrate this kind of sentence by having students respond to ordinary classroom commands. Examples: Open your books. Sign your name. Imperative sentences can be followed by an exclamation mark if they are expressing strong emotions. Examples: Sit down! Be quiet!

9. Have students turn the handout over and fill in each of the speech bubbles with the appropriate imperative sentence. This exercise will reinforce the chaos of A Storm versus the tranquillity of A Calm.

A Calm/Vernet
A Calm at a Mediterranean Port, Claude-Joseph Vernet, 1770

Extensions

  • Have students recall a time when they were in a storm and describe the experience to a partner.

  • Have student volunteers stand in front of the class and take the pose of the characters speaking in one of the paintings. Invite each student to speak aloud the sentence he or she wrote for his or her character.