1. Ask students to think about some of their favorite stories. Ask them to share with a partner. Ask them to think about how they learned the story (read it, heard it, etc.). Explain to the students that stories can be told in many different ways.
2. Tell students that they are going to see three types of creative storytelling that artists used. Explain that each of the images includes characters, a plot, and a setting. In both of the paintings and the manuscript (books written and decorated completely by hand), the characters are repeated within the same image (wearing the same clothes), sometimes within the same setting. Ask students: Why do you think the artist did this? (Each artist wanted to show the plot of the story by having the characters wear the same color clothing.)
3. Direct students to the reproduction of The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with St. John the Baptist. Explain that the artist Fra Bartolommeo shows Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus twice. They are seen in the foreground (front) of the painting. Ask students the following questions:
Where can you find them again?
What is going on in this picture?
4. Direct students to the reproduction of The Story of Joseph. Explain to students that the artist Biagio d'Antonio takes the idea of repeating the same characters even further. The main character Joseph is seen over and over again in the painting. Prompt students with the following questions:
Can you find Joseph in the image?
Where do you see him again?
Why do you think the artist wanted to paint Joseph many times within this architectural setting?
5. Direct student to the reproduction of Scenes from the Life of Constantine. Explain to students that books from a long time ago were often lavishly illustrated, as seen in the artwork. Tell students that this page illustrates the scenes from the life of Emperor Constantine (an emperor is a kind of ruler or king). He is in two of the images. Prompt students with the following questions:
Can you find Emperor Constantine? (Hint: Look for his crown.)
What is going on within these four small pictures?
How is this illustration different from the paintings you just looked at? (The story is told in four separate frames, like a comic book.)
1. Tell students it's their turn! Print out the handouts on watercolor paper and pass around the three handouts to the class: "Create a Story: Landscape Setting," "Create a Story: Architectural Setting," and "Create a Story: Four Frames."
2. Have each student choose and take one handout—either the landscape setting, architectural setting, or four separate frames handout. Explain to them that they will create a story on the handout.
3. Pass out the ruled paper and pencils and/or pens, and instruct students to write down their choice of setting on the paper.
4. Have students identify the main character in their story. Tell them they will illustrate this main character more than once in their picture. Remind students that the character should wear the same thing, so it should be the same color throughout their story. Have them write down the name of the main character on the ruled paper.
5. Next, tell students to decide what part of the plot they would like to illustrate. They can show two parts of the plot by drawing the character twice, as in the Fra Bartolommeo painting. If they show four parts of the plot, they would be using the comic book template and draw four separate stories. If they illustrate even more parts of the plot, they would draw the character many times, as Biagio d'Antonio did in The Story of Joseph. Have students jot down ideas about what parts of the plot they want to illustrate.
6. Pass out supplies to the students: pencils, Art Stix®, watercolor pencils, Niji Waterbrushes or paint brushes, and containers of water.
7. Tell students it's time to draw and paint! Have them use the Art Stix and crayons to draw the characters in action on their student handout. Tell them to repeat their characters at least once on the same page to show the passage of time through their actions. Remind students that the characters will wear the same color clothing from beginning to end.
8. After drawing the characters and their actions, tell students to work on the setting. Have them color the setting with the watercolor pencils, adding water with the Niji Waterbrushes, or paint with the watercolors. Tell them they can paint right over the characters because the watercolor will not stick to the waxy surfaces made by the crayons and Art Stix. This technique is called "wax resist."
9. When each student has finished their drawing, instruct them to write the narrative story of their drawing on one sheet of ruled paper.
Common Core Standards for English Language Arts
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
K.3 Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
K.4 Describe familiar people places, things, and events, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and text with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
2.4 Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audible in coherent sentences.
3.1 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.
3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
4.6 Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 4 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)
5.1 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.
5.3 Summarize the points a speaker or media source makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence, and identify and analyze any logical fallacies.
K.3 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.
1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
2.3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing (including multiple-paragraph texts) in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
5.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.