Grades/Level: Lower Elementary (K–2)
Subjects: Visual Arts
Time Required: 1–2 class periods

Author: This lesson was adapted by J. Paul Getty Museum Education staff from a curriculum originally published on the Getty's first education Web site, ArtsEdNet.


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Lesson Overview

This lesson is part of a sequential unit. Everybody celebrates. In this lesson we celebrate by creating a hat that expresses the ideas of caring relationships and working together that were explored in this unit.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• recall from Lesson 3 how feelings of caring and working together can be expressed in works of art.
• use the design elements and principles covered in this unit to create a work of art.
• create a celebratory hat using three-dimensional paper techniques.
• define the terms "two-dimensional" and "three-dimensional" and explain the difference between them.


• Small paper plates, hole punch, yarn, masking tape, construction paper, crayons, markers, glue, scissors. You could also have the following available: tissue paper, crepe paper, wallpaper, and glitter.
• Images of artworks depicting people celebrating. Examples are below.

Lesson Steps

Before class, decide on a theme around which the class will create celebratory hats. Pre-punch two holes along the rim of the paper plates, directly across from one another. To make the holes stronger, add pieces of masking tape to the rim of the plate before punching the holes. String pieces of yarn through the holes to make straps so that children can wear the hats at the end of the lesson. Have a variety of widths and lengths of colored paper strips available, as well as a box of colored scrap paper for unusual shapes, and other supplies for decoration.

1. Ask students what they learned about how artists can communicate a mood or feeling in an artwork through various formal tools and subject matter. Show them one of the suggested images and have a discussion about the celebration depicted by asking:
• What word would you use to describe what you see?
• If you could be any of the people you see in the picture, who would you choose? Why?
• The people in this scene are celebrating something. Can you tell what they are celebrating?
After they have guessed, tell the students what celebration is depicted. Ask them which elements or symbols in the image help communicate what the celebration is.

2. Discuss the types of events students celebrate in their lives by asking:
• What events do you celebrate? (birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, solstice, Ramadan, etc.)
• What are you celebrating on these days? (the day you were born, the day something special happened, the birth of Jesus, the day the seasons change, the end of fasting, etc.)
• How do you celebrate these events? (Are there special rituals? Who comes to the celebrations?)
• Do you wear anything special for the event?

3. Have students look again at the artworks introduced earlier and examine the various hats worn in the picture. Ask each student to describe his or her favorite hat in the image. Encourage them to describe the hat using details of color, line, texture, and shape.

4. Tell the class what the theme of their celebration will be and that each of them will create a hat to wear to the celebration. Brainstorm with the class about what visual images are associated with the theme of the celebration. List these ideas on the chalkboard. Ask students to think about creating a hat that will communicate the feeling of the celebration.

5. Demonstrate how to make the components of the hat, but do not put the hat together, so they do not simply copy a model. Encourage students to invent new ways to create paper sculpture and suggest that they try to repeat lines and shapes with the forms. Demonstrate various techniques for creating three-dimensional effects, such as:
• fringe (make small cuts in one edge of the paper)
• fold (make accordion pleats, or shapes like a triangles or rectangles)
• crumple
• loop (glue or tape two ends of a strip of paper together)
• curl (demonstrate curling a paper around a pencil)
• tear
• make a cylinder or a cone
• spiral

6. As students work, have them glue each piece as they create it. Walk around the room to give individual help and talk about color, design elements, and balance. Students should practice creating pattern and texture either with Magic Markers and crayons, or by pasting cut-paper shapes onto their hats.

7. Plan to have at least five to 10 minutes at the end of the class to share the creations. Everyone can wear their own hats and view the hats created by their classmates. Have students share what they like about another student's hat and what sort of feeling the hat conveys.

8. As a culminating event, have students wear their hats as part of a class parade.

Christ in Brussels / Ensor
Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889, James Ensor, 1888
© Estate of James Ensor/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Students should be able to do the following:
• Use a variety of paper forms to create a three-dimensional paper-sculpture party hat.
• Demonstrate a conscious use of design elements to convey a mood or feeling.
• Verbalize what is special or unique about other students' hats and their own.

Standards Addressed

Visual Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Artistic Expression
1.3 Identify the elements of art (line, color, shape/form, texture, value, space) in the environment and in works of art, emphasizing line, color, and shape/form.

Creative Expression
2.2 Demonstrate beginning skill in the use of tools and processes, such as the use of scissors, glue, and paper in creating a three-dimensional construction.
2.7 Create a three-dimensional form, such as a real or imaginary animal.

Historical and cultural context
3.2 Identify and describe works of art that show people doing things together.
3.3 Look at and discuss works of art from a variety of times and places.

Aesthetic Valuing
4.2 Describe what is seen (including both literal and expressive content) in selected works of art.
4.3 Discuss how and why they made a specific work of art.

Grade 1
Artistic Perception
1.3 Identify the elements of art in objects in nature, in the environment, and in works of art, emphasizing line, color, shape/form, and texture.

Creative Expression
2.1 Use texture in two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art.

Aesthetic Valuing
4.1 Discuss works of art created in the classroom, focusing on selected elements of art (e.g., shape/form, texture, line, color).

Grade 2
Artistic Perception
1.3 Identify the elements of art in objects in nature, the environment, and works of art, emphasizing line, color, shape/form, texture, and space.

Historical and cultural context
3.1 Explain how artists use their work to share experiences or communicate ideas.
3.3 Identify and discuss how art is used in events and celebrations in various cultures, past and present, including the use in their own lives.

Aesthetic Valuing
4.4 Use appropriate vocabulary of art to describe the successful use of an element of art in a work of art.

National Standards for Visual Arts
Grades K–4

Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

Using knowledge of structures and functions
Students know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas.
Students describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses.
Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas.

Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Students select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others Students understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.