Thursday, January 21, 2010

Picturing America: President George Washington is the general rhythm we have fallen into:  We briefly talk about the painting, and the painter.  We talk about what was going on in the world at the time of the painting.  We very briefly discuss the style of the painting (I am not an artist or knowledgeable about art, so I have to go with what I read in the handbook).  Then, we read a book about the event, or person, featured in the painting.  Depending on what art project we have scheduled for that day, we will do art throughout the class, so that the pieces have time to dry between layers.

This week, we studied two paintings: Washington Crossing the Delaware and George Washington (Landsdowne Portrait), 1796.
George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait), 1796:  There are so many ways you can go when studying George Washington.  Our goal was not to study George Washington in general, rather to study him as a general, as pertained to the crossing of the Delaware.  However, I do have some resources for you:
George Washington by Cheryl Harness is a wonderful book, with wonderful pictures.  If you visit Amazon, you can see a few of the illustrations in the book.

This link has an interactive copy of the Lansdowne Portrait.  You can give your students access to it, if you desire.

This link has a lot of other links.  It would be a great place to start a search for information on George Washington.

Washington Crossing the Delaware:  I read bits and pieces of Crossing The Delaware: A History In Many Voices by Louise Peacock.  I did not read the entire thing only because we are short on time.  This, too is a great book and I highly recommend it.  

Mount Vernon's Lesson Plans for all things Washington.
This site has lesson plans, as well as background information, and a copy of the painting.
Elementary activity sheets
Includes a coloring sheet

For our artwork, we colored pictures, then decoupaged them to wood.  Basically, I had a hard time finding an activity that would work in the time frame we had.  We also made oceans in bottles.  You could then glue or tape the picture to the bottle.  If we had had more time, I might have done a seascape, you might use the coloring page to do a watercolor, or you might try your hand at making an etching (this painting was very popular as an etching, as was the portrait).  You might also use some of the pictures of George Washington from this site to do this style art project.  (By the way, I have found Art Projects for Kids to be a great resource.)

One of our younger students completely covered his picture, because it was nighttime.

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