Big Ideas: Expressing Feelings Through Art
Using AP-Sealed Art Materials

Grade Level(s)
Activity time: Activity time: Four 30-minute class periods
Student choice is involved in media decisions for the lesson. This materials list has possibilities that could be included and is not exhaustive.
  • Paint (tempera, acrylic)
  • Drawing media (pencils, oil pastels, markers, chalk)
  • Substrates (canvas, canvas board, paper, cardboard)
  • Adhesives (gloss and matte medium, glue, hot glue, tape)
  • Miscellaneous (ephemera, wire, patterned or painted papers, found objects, stickers, stencils)
Download Lesson Plan

Stage 1 – Desired Results

Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work
  • VA:Cr2.1.1a 1st
    Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design.
  • VA:Cr2.1.5a 5th '
    Experiment and develop skills in multiple art-making techniques and approaches through practice.
Transfer Goal(s):
  • Articulate feelings visually.
  • Communicate ideas, experiences, and stories through art.
Students will understand that:
  • Art can be about their ideas.
  • Their feelings matter.
Essential Question(s):
  • How can the elements of art and principles of design be used to convey feelings?
Student Objectives (outcomes):
Students will be able to:
  • Make a work about feelings.
  • Talk/recognize feelings.

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence

Performance Task(s):
  • Make an artwork that conveys a feeling.
Other Evidence:
  • Matching activity
  • Class critique

Stage 3 – Learning Plan

Learning Activities:

1. Pass out paper and drawing materials.

2. Ask students to draw to the music that is played. Play short selections of music with different tempos.

3. Discuss how the music made them feel. Did their drawing change when the mood of the music changed?

4. Gather students in a circle.

5. Discuss feeling words. In order, using a “talking stick/item,” ask each to state a feeling word that they know or learned about.

6. Provide a variety of art materials (paints, markers, colored pencils, etc.) for students to create a work that expresses a feeling. These works could be abstract, or you could ask students to use an animal, monster, tree or object to express the feeling they choose.

7. Pass out images of an artist’s work. Ask students to assign a feeling (K-2 use emoticons, 3-6 use vocabulary strips) to the work.

Some examples include:
  • “Man with Guitar” Picasso
  • “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” Van Gogh
  • “The Happy Couple” Leyster
  • “The Scream” Munch
  • “Ernok” Basquiat
  • “Totem for Dancing Girl” Kesha Bruce
  • “Frighten Girl” Lichtenstein
  • "The Promenade" Chagall
  • “Little Girl in a Blue Armchair” Cassatt
  • “Self-Portrait, The Inn of the Dawn Horse” Leonora Carrington
8. Individual students come to the front to share their work. Ask their classmates about the details of the work: what colors they see, what shapes, etc. What emotion do they think it conveys and why (evidence)?

9. Display work with textual information about the lesson. Additional resource for upper grades: Video - Emotion in Art

About The Council for Art Education (CFAE)

The Council for Art Education, Inc. (CFAE) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created in 1984 through its primary sponsor, The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI). CFAE's main number one priority is to promote quality school visual art education programs in grades K-12 across the U.S. Through the actions of its members, its partners, and the generous support it receives from national organizations and institutions like ACMI, CFAE actively encourages commitment to the visual arts in grades K-12.
Learn more about CFAE and Youth Art Month