The students will read The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau.
NOTE: Information for the Accelerated Reading (AR) Test is listed under Advanced Preparation.
The digital resource linked in this activity is a read-aloud of the book.
The instructor will ask questions about the text.
When did Henri decide he wanted to be an artist?
At the first exhibition, did the critics like his art?
Did Henri give up?
At the second art exhibition, did the critics like his art?
Did Henri give up?
Did he make a lot of money selling his art?
How did he make money?
What did he buy with his money?
What was the subject of his art?
Had he ever been to a jungle?
Where did he get his ideas?
Who taught Henri how to draw?
The instructor will continue to guide discussion about the text.
What kinds of things did the critics say about his paintings?
Are those kind?
Did Henri let their words stop him from following his dreams?
After many years or making art, who encouraged him?
Is he considered to be a great artist today?
(Note: In the text, the author gives examples of how responses to Henri Rousseau's art changed over time. No one liked his art until he was nearing the end of his career. Younger, less traditional artists were creating new art movements that changed how people valued Henri Rousseau's art. Today, he is viewed as one of the most talented self-taught artists in art history.)
The instructor will ask questions about student experiences.
We do not live near a real jungle. Where might we see images of a jungle?
The students create a word list of places they have seen images from the jungle. (Books, movies, TV, museums, zoos, etc.) The students will create a word list of things they might see in a jungle. The students should have at least ten words.
The instructor will allow a few minutes for students to create their word list. Then the instructor will ask students to turn-and-talk to share their word lists with their partners. Students may add new ideas.
The students will elaborate on their individual imagined jungle word list by creating a jungle drawing based on their personal experiences combined with their imagination. Henri Rousseau used his experiences (the green house, post cards, and magazines) to elaborate on his imagined jungles. Their drawing will serve as a sketch or practice drawing. Student drawings must include a subject and background. (If time allows, they may add color while their classmates catch up.)