Students (1) will learn the names of ten colors and shades of some colors, (2) will count to ninety-nine, (3) will learn the names of the lines and several geometric figures, and (4) will be able to differentiate between singulars and plurals.
Slides (available at the Yale University Art Gallery, Education Office) or reproductions of:
1. Piet Mondrian—
Fox Trot A
Fox Trot B
2. Josef Albers—
Homage to the Square: Unconditional,
Homage to the Square: Broad Call
3. Richard Anuszkiewicz—
Splendor of Red
4. Alexander Calder—
5. Kasimir Malevich—
The Scissors Grinder
6. Wassily Kandinsky—
7. Patrick H. Bruce—
8. Fernand Leger—
Viaduct, Composition #7
Students will view the slides and teacher will point out different colors. Mondrian’s works include white, blue, yellow, black, and red. Gray and light blue are in Albers’
Homage to the Square
( there is a series of paintings with this title, and all are useful in the teaching of the colors) along with white and black. In
Splendor of Red
, red, blue, and green intermix. Only white and black are found in Alexander Calder’s
Fourth Flurry. The Scissors Grinder
is a review of the colors already presented.
introduces orange and brown.
has all the before mentioned colors plus purple, turquoise, and several tertiary colors. Leger’s works can be used to review the names of all the colors.
After the teacher has pronounced the name of the color once or twice, the student points out another place in the painting where there is the same color. The teacher prepares a ditto with an imitation of one of the paintings (I suggest Mondrian style) and have the students color it in (as they wish) with crayons, magic markers, or watercolors. These should be displayed for all to see. Along with their own paintings, the students can write simple sentences describing what they did or what colors they chose.
Using the same group of slides, numbers are introduced. Using the same order as before, and the phrases, “There is . . . ” and “There are . . . ”, the student counts whatever amount of shapes that there are within the painting. The names of the circle and square are given at this time. Numbers should first be given to the students from one to ten; then from eleven to nineteen, and then twenty to one-hundred to be counted in tens. Twenty-one to twenty-nine should be used as the model for counting from thirty to ninety-nine.
In Mondrian’s paintings, counting will not go over ten unless we use one of his paintings found in the Museum of Modern Art in New York,
Broadway Boogie Woogie
, and in this one painting, students are able to count well into the sixties and seventies. Activities in simple addition and subtraction can be incorporated at this point. Students will be drilled orally on the names of the numbers and will be given written quizzes.
Once again using the same set of slides, students will learn the names of several geometric forms which include, straight lines (horizontal, vertical, and diagonal), curved lines, parallel lines, triangles, squares, rectangles, circles and amorphous forms.
are excellent beginning points for the study of straight lines, vertical and horizontal, and the squares and rectangle are introduced. The teacher may say, “There is a red rectangle.”, or “There is a white square.”, “Rectangles and squares are made up of four straight lines.” In Albers’
Homage to the Square
there are four squares, one within the other.
Splendor in Red
main focus point is a square.
Alexander Calder’s work is made up of small and large circles. A classroom activity to construct mobiles is encouraged. This mobile can contain the geometric shapes the students have learned so far. These can be made easily with thin dowels or straws, string and colored construction paper. The students cut out six or seven shapes in different colors of construction paper and perforate a hole at the top of each shape. They tie a piece of string to the shape end tie the string to the straw or dowel. These strings should be of different lengths to create interesting balances. A final string is tied to one end of the stick to the other to allow for hanging from the ceiling. The finished product should look like this:
(figure available in print form)
The shapes can also be cut out of heavy cardboard and painted or they can be cut out of plastic lids and decorated with magic markers.
The Scissors Grinder
has several triangles along with circles, squares, and rectangles. This painting is more complicated in terms of geometric forms but can prove to be a lot of fun for the students to see how many triangles can find. In Kandinsky’s
, the students will review the different shapes and lines. Curved lines and semi-circles are added here. In
students find many amorphous shapes, and will not find many of the shapes studied before but they can search for the ones they know, and in stating what they have found, they can say, “There is one blue triangle.”
contain several examples of parallel lines and can be used to review all the shapes. The singular and plural forms of nouns are dealt in all the units and are reinforced each time the student has to say or write a sentence about a particular shape. Also, they are now able to construct sentences with one or two adjectives as in “There are two yellow squares.” or “There are twenty-one white circles.”
At this time, I would suggest a visit to the Yale University Art Gallery so the students can see the original paintings. Teachers can schedule a tour by calling the Education Office. Arrangements can be made to have your class picked up at your school (New Haven School System). To arrange a tour and transportation, get in touch with the Education Office.