Winter Activities: Writing and Illustrating Activities Inspired by Grandma Moses
Grade Level: Kindergarten
Subjects: Writing, Reading
Students will discuss and write about what they see happening in a painting.
Students will paint and write about what they enjoy doing in the winter.
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts). (RL.K.7) (DOK 2)
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. (W.K.3) (DOK 2,3)
Compare life in the past to life today. (SS.K.17)
Arts Anchor Standard 7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
Arts Anchor Standard 10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
This lesson will be part of a cross-curricular unit on seasons. Multiple books will be read and discussed as part of this literacy and social studies unit. Prior to this lesson, students will have read texts such as Sugaring by Jessie Haas and Maple Syrup from the Sugar House by Knowlton and Mitter. The unit will also include several other texts and activities related to winter.
For this part of the unit, students will focus on the painting “Sugaring Off” by American folk artist Grandma Moses. Students will discuss what they see. The class will then participate in a shared writing activity. After this discussion, they will create a mural of winter activities and write about their own winter activity.
Painting “Sugaring Off” by Grandma Moses (https://www.wikiart.org/en/grandma-moses/not_detected_251604)
Chart paper, marker
Medium construction paper
Large light blue butcher paper (prepare with pre-drawn hills using pencil)
White tempera paint
Cardboard pieces, cut into 8-18 inch strips
Brown tempera paint
1. Introduce the lesson by recalling what the students have learned about maple syrup making in past lessons. Remind them that this is a winter activity that many people have taken part in for years.
2. Present the painting on the interactive whiteboard screen. Explain that it is called “Sugaring Off” and was creating many years ago by an American painter named Grandma Moses. https://www.wikiart.org/en/grandma-moses/not_detected_251604
3. Explain that today we are going to look closely at this picture and write a story about what we see.
4. Lead the discussion with some questions. Students can jot down their ideas on whiteboards and/or share verbally with their partners.
a. What season is it? How can you tell?
b. Do you think that this painting takes place now or in the past? How can you tell? (Lead the students to see the lack of motor vehicles, horse drawn sleighs, clothing differences, etc.)
c. Ask the following visual thinking strategy questions: “What’s going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? And what more can we find?”
5. As students engage in their discussions, monitor the conversations. Take notes about what you hear. Facilitate the conversation by listening, paraphrasing what you hear, and asking prompting questions.
6. Next, create a shared writing piece. This will be a narrative based on the story told in the picture. The students will contribute their ideas for the story. Model appropriate grammar, syntax, and story structure. Facilitate the experience by asking prompting questions to ensure that the details are consistent with the story and that the narrative flows.
7. Re-read the story after its completion.
8. Next, ask students about an activity that they enjoy with their family and friends in the winter. Instruct students to sketch this idea on their whiteboards.
9. Students go back to their tables and are provided medium construction paper and tempera paint sticks. They will use the tempera paint sticks to create a picture of themselves doing something they enjoy doing in the winter. Their whiteboard sketches can serve as a guide. Instruct them to turn the paper any way that works for them, but try to use most of the space.
10. As their paintings are drying, they will work collaboratively to create the background for their mural. The mural outline will be pre-drawn will penciled-in hills. Students will work together to paint in the snowy hills using white tempera paint and brushes. They will then use brown paint and cardboard strips to print bare winter trees on the background.
11. After the background is completed and the individual portraits are dry, students will cut out their self-portraits and glue them somewhere on the mural.
12. After the mural is complete, students will write an independent sentence about what activity they like to do in the winter. These sentences can be posted around the mural.
1. The teacher will actively listen to the discussion to determine whether each child is contributing ideas about the painting. As an option, the teacher can take anecdotal notes or use a checklist to ensure that they listen to each child during the course of the group discussion.
2. After the mural is complete, students will write an independent sentence about what they like to do in the winter. The teacher will check for capitalization, punctuation, and content that matches their painting.
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