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Art Criticism Unit Plan

                              Unit Plan-Interpreting Art


I. Subject Area:  Art 1/High School (9-12)


          Unit Goals:


            A.  Students will gain an appreciation of artworks and artists by

            looking at artworks on a PowerPoint and by researching the lives

            of artists using the internet, books, etc.


            B.  Students will learn to interpret art by learning how to identify

            indicators in order to uncover the artist’s message by looking at

            images on a PowerPoint and by looking at each others work.


            C.  Students will see how art is directly related to the world

            around us by looking   at advertisements and by discussing how

            color is used in our everyday lives. 


            D.  Students will learn to create artwork as individual artists that

            focuses on content and a message. 


            E.  Students will improve their critiquing skills by discussing

            advertisements and works of art.


II. State and National Visual Arts Standards (9-12)


          State Standards:

       1.2 Produce visual art that exhibits a communication of ideas through the use of media, tools, techniques, and processes.

       1.3 Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the application of media, techniques, and processes used to solve visual art problems.

       2.2 Analyze and critique organizational components and expressive qualities of artworks.

       2.3 Evaluate the function of artworks as to utilitarian or intrinsic purposes.

       3.1 Demonstrate critical thinking in the selection of content in works of art.

       3.3 Analyze and interpret symbols and their origins.

       4.1 Demonstrate an understanding of how historical and contemporary works of art reflect and influence societies and cultures.

       4.3 Demonstrate how history and culture influence the production of art.

       5.1 Assess visual artworks and their meanings by using a variety of criteria and techniques.

       5.2 Reflect on and evaluate artworks in order to understand various interpretations.



       Content Standard: 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

       Content Standard: 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

       Content Standard: 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

       Content Standard: 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.


III. Student Characteristics

            This unit is intended for Art 1 students in grades 9-12.  The students should also have a basic understanding of the elements and principles of art.  Students should have some experience with drawing and painting.  The school is in a rural location and the students are mostly middle class whites.  The students should all be able to use critical thinking skills to break down an image.  We have practiced this with artworks since the first day of school.  The students will be able to actively participate in discussions.  The students should have had some type of exposure to critiquing techniques. 


IV. Unit Introductory Procedures

            This unit will begin with a short assignment that will relate to the color unit the students will have just finished.  The students will be asked to think of how color is used in the world around them.  Examples of color indicators will be included in a PowerPoint.  The PowerPoint will also include slides for the advertising vs. art indicators activity.  The PowerPoint will be appropriate for high school students.  Students will discuss their knowledge of advertisements and will discuss how advertisers use indicators to get a specific message out to a specific audience.  Students should be able to identify indicators in advertisements and artwork which will help them to uncover the advertisers/artist’s message.  This understanding of indicators and messages will later lead into an art history lesson.  Students will take approximately ninety-minute class periods to go over the PowerPoint and to complete the accompanying worksheet (Advertising vs. Art).  The students will then complete a rough draft of ideas for their own artwork using specific indicators.  The students will later have a critique where other students try to look at indicators of the work in order to determine the artists’ purpose.  This critique will take approximately 90 minutes.  Teacher may choose to divide critiques into three shourt 30-minute sessions.  After this, students will create a “birthday box” for the artist of their choice (see list of artists attached).  This lesson will take place in two or three 90-minute classes.   


V. Materials and Media for the Unit


Lesson Plan #1

       PowerPoint (for overview of unit, to include introduction of unit, advertisement slides, artwork slides, definitions, etc.)

       Corresponding (PowerPoint) worksheet advertising vs. art

Students will be viewing PowerPoint and filling out corresponding worksheet about advertisement vs. art.  Students will discuss the worksheet at the end of class. 

Lesson Plan #2

       Different media for students to choose from for own work


       Tempera Paint

       Colored Pencils



       Acrylic Paint

       Collage Materials

Students will be creating their own works using indicators and creating their own message.  They will be using different media.  They will choose their media according to the message they are trying to convey.  The students will be critiquing each others work at the end of the lesson.

Lesson Plan #3

       Students bring in their own boxes to make “birthday box.”

       Extra boxes for students who cannot bring in their own box

       Acrylic paint

       Tempera Paint

       Colored Pencils

       Collage materials

       List of artists for students to choose to research

       Books and computers available for research of artists

       Teacher example of Van Gogh box

       Index cards to explain why each object was chosen

       Birthday party props-balloons, signs, cake, drinks, etc. 

Students will be creating a birthday box for each artist.  The students will pick an artist from a list of artists.  The students will research their artist and then do the studio project.  The students will design a box in the artist’s style.  Then the student will collect/make six objects that represent each artist.  These will be like presents for the artist.  The students will make an index card explaining why each object was chosen.  After the projects are done each student will present their artist and his/her box.  They will have a birthday party for the artists. 


VI. Assessment and Evaluation of Learner Understanding


       The teacher will note students’ effort and participation in activities and discussions on a daily basis.

       Student will be asked questions at the beginning and end of each class.  The ability of students to answer those questions or listen to the answers to those questions is observed by the teacher.  The questions will be about information the class discusses about that day and key terms the student should be aware of. 

       Student effort and participation will weigh heaviest when considering the grade that the student will receive.  This means that the student needs to exhibit interest by asking questions, remaining silent as the lesson/ PowerPoint is being given, and responding to teacher/peer questions. 

       Students will be graded on group participation with the advertising vs. art activity.

       The student will finish their projects on time and will be able to explain the reasoning behind their works.  Students participation in critiques will also be evaluated.

       There will be rubric used for grading the “birthday boxes”. 


VII. Related Assessment to the Outcomes in the Goals


       Students should be able to identify the key terms and display knowledge of indicators and messages in an artwork and in the world around them.

       Students will gain an understanding of the importance of studying artworks.  They will also understand how indicators are used to get the artist’s message across to the viewer. 

       The students will understand the importance of the use of indicators in their own work. 





Lesson Plan: Advertising Vs. Art