Grades/Level: Lower Elementary (K–2)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, Mathematics, Music
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
Three to four 30-minute class periods
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

For the Classroom

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Background on French Decorative Arts

Lesson Overview

Students will describe a decorative clock made in the 1700s and identify the colors, animals, animals' actions, and natural and manmade items depicted on it. They will learn and memorize a song adapted from a nursery rhyme to reinforce their understanding of action verbs depicted on the clock's decoration. They will also practice telling time and make connections between the time of day and their daily lives by creating their own decorated clock depicting their favorite time of day.

Learning Objectives

Students should be able to:
• identify natural and man-made items depicted on a work of art;
• identify real and imaginary animals in a decorative clock;
• learn new verbs to describe the gestures of animals by orally reciting a nursery rhyme;
• memorize a new song;
• tell time and relate the time of day to everyday events; and
• create an original clock with real and imaginary animals.


• Reproduction of Wall Clock (Pendule d'alcove), movement by Charles Voisin, clockmaker; clock case made at the Chantilly Porcelain Manufactory
• Internet access and video projector (optional)
• Video: "Tick-a-Tock Clocks" (available on YouTube at
• Clock with movable hands (Note: You may wish to make a cardboard clock see "My Own Clock" on the Scholastic Web site at
• Student handout: "Hickory-Dickory Dock: A Fancy Clock"
• Video: "Nursery Rhyme: Hickory, Dickory Dock Video Karaoke with Music Notation" (optional, available on YouTube at
• Recycled cereal or shoe boxes
• Heavyweight paper in assorted colors
• Paint brushes
• Water-based paint in assorted colors, including gold metallic
• Pencils
• White glue
• Markers or crayons
• Scissors
• Cardboard arrows in two different sizes
• Hole puncher
• Brads

Lesson Steps

Warming Up to Clocks with Song and Dance

1. Introduce tools used to tell the time by following along to singing and dancing in the video "Tick-a-Tock Clocks." Or, if you do not have a video projector available, you may wish to watch the video at home, and then teach the song and dance to your students.

2. Tell students they will be discussing and making fancy clocks.

Animals and Nature on a Clock

1. Display a reproduction of Wall Clock (Pendule d'alcove). Tell students that this is a work of art that also has a function. The work of art was used as decoration in a bedroom and also showed the time. Prompt students with the following questions:

• What do you see? Where do you see it? (top, bottom, right side, left side)
• What do you see that is from nature? (flowers, leaves, branches, animals)
• What do you see that is not from nature (or man made)? (clock hands, chain around monkey's neck)
• What animals do you see? (dragon, monkey, duck)
• Which animals are real? Which are imaginary?
• What are the animals doing? (climbing, standing, twisting around the clock)
• What sounds do these animals make? (roaring, laughing, quacking)
• What colors can you see? (green, yellow, orange, blue, violet, gold)

2. Ask students if they know of any other songs or nursery rhymes about clocks. Distribute the student handout "Hickory-Dickory Dock" and read the adapted nursery rhyme to the class. Have students repeat after you as they follow along on the handout. As you state each real or imaginary animal, point to where on the work of art the animal is located.

3. Now put the words to music. You may wish to play the video "Nursery Rhyme: Hickory, Dickory Dock Video Karaoke with Music Notation" while singing. As you sing each stanza, move the hands on a clock to show them the time that is being described in each stanza. You may wish to call on students to individually show the correct time on the clock.

4. Divide the class into four groups. Each group will memorize three stanzas of the song. Allow them to practice memorizing the song for homework. In class, invite the groups to take turns practicing the song until each group has their stanzas memorized.

Making a Fancy Clock

1. Distribute shoe boxes or other small rectangular boxes, paint brushes, and gold-metallic paint to the class. This box will be the core (or carcass) of the clock. Have students paint the entire box with gold-metallic paint.

2. Pass out a piece of recycled cardboard and assorted markers or crayons. Tell students to cut out a face for their clocks from recycled cardboard, then design numbers in pencil around the clock face. Once satisfied, students can go over the numbers with a marker or crayon. They will use glue to attach the face to the box.

3. Tell students to draw several leaves and flowers on a piece of recycled cardboard and cut them out. Have them cut four to six leaves and flowers and arrange them around the clock face.

4. Have students brainstorm real or imagined animals that could inhabit their wall clocks. They may choose to include real animals or imaginary animals from distant locations. Have them share with a partner what kinds of actions (e.g., quack, slither, climb) these animals could do. Then tell them to draw or paint the animals posed in these actions.

5. Tell students to place the decorative elements around the face of their clocks and attach them with glue. Invite them to add additional details and colors with water-based paint.

6. Distribute a small and large cardboard arrow to each student. Have them trace around the cardboard onto heavyweight paper of their choice, and then cut out the arrows. Punch holes at the ends of the arrows. Assist students in fastening the arrows to the clock face with a brad.

7. Ask students what is their favorite time of day, and why. Have them share with a partner and then share out. If necessary, provide the actual times when their favorite activities would happen (e.g., recess at 10:00 a.m., dinnertime at 6:00 p.m., etc.). Have each student set his or her clock to the selected time.

8. Have students write a four-line stanza inspired by the nursery rhyme that begins and ends with "Hickory Dickory Dock." Invite them to use the animals and decorations on their own clocks and the times displayed as inspiration.

9. Display the bedroom clocks on a wall and enjoy.

Wall Clock / Chantilly Porcelain Manufactory
Wall Clock, Chantilly Porcelain Manufactory, about 1740


Students will be assessed on their participation in class discussions and singing activities. Their clocks will be assessed on whether they include items from nature and real or imagined animals.

Standards Addressed

Common Core Standards for Visual Arts

Grades 9–12

Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

English–Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Listening and Speaking
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
1.1 Understand and follow one- and two-step oral directions.
1.2 Share information and ideas, speaking audibly in complete, coherent sentences.

2.0 Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
2.1 Describe people, places, things (e.g., size, color, shape), locations, and actions.

Grade 1
Listening and Speaking
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
1.5 Use descriptive words when speaking about people, places, things, and events

Visual Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

1.0 Artistic Perception
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.

2.0 Creative Expression
2.2 Demonstrate beginning skills in the use of tools and processes, such as the use of scissors, glue, and paper in creating a three-dimensional construction.

3.0 Historical and Cultural Context
3.1 Describe functional and nonutilitarian art seen in daily life; that is, works of art that are used versus those that are only viewed.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing
4.2 Describe what is seen (including both literal and expressive content) in selected works of art.

Grade 1
1.0 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.

2.0 Creative Expression
2.4 Plan and use variations in line, shape/form, color, and texture to communicate ideas or feelings in works of art.

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications
5.4 Describe objects designed by artists (e.g., furniture, appliances, cars) that are used at home and at school.

Mathematics Content Standards for California Public Schools

Measurement and Geometry
1.2 Demonstrate an understanding of concepts of time (e.g., morning, afternoon, evening, today, yesterday, tomorrow, week, year) and tools that measure time (e.g., clock, calendar).
1.4 Identify the time (to the nearest hour) of everyday events (e.g., lunch time is 12 o'clock; bedtime is 8 o'clock at night).

Grade 1
Measurement and Geometry
1.0 Students use direct comparison and nonstandard units to describe the measurements of objects.
1.2 Tell time to the nearest half hour and relate time to events (e.g., before/after, shorter/longer).

Music Content Standards for California State Public Schools

2.0 Creative Expression
2.2 Sing age-appropriate songs from memory.

Grade 1
2.0 Creative Expression
2.1 Sing with accuracy in a developmentally appropriate range.
2.2 Sing age-appropriate songs from memory.