ALEX Learning Activity


Recording Culture Through Illustrations

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Elizabeth OBrien
System:Huntsville City
School:Academy For Academics & Arts
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1803
Recording Culture Through Illustrations
Digital Tool/Resource:
Web Address – URL:
Not Applicable

Students will use a text's illustrations to gain information about the character's culture.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 3
2 ) Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. [RL.3.2]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.3.2- Identify the central message, lesson, or moral of a story; identify key details that support a central theme of a story.

Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 3
Visual Arts
9) Identify and explain how and where different cultures record and illustrate stories and history through art.

Examples: Discuss Chauvet cave paintings, Diego Rivera's mural, The History of Mexico, or the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the events of the Norman Conquest.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Presenting
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
Process Components: Select, Analyze, Share
Essential Questions:
EU: Objects, artifacts, and artworks collected, preserved, or presented either by artists, museums, or other venues communicate meaning and a record of social, cultural, and political experiences resulting in the cultivating of appreciation and understanding.
EQ: What is an art museum? How does the presenting and sharing of objects, artifacts, and artworks influence and shape ideas, beliefs, and experiences? How do objects, artifacts, and artworks collected, preserved, or presented, cultivate appreciation and understanding?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Creativity
  • Criteria
  • Critique
  • Design
  • Media
  • Mixed media
  • Monochromatic
  • Principles of design
    • Rhythm
  • Technology
  • Visual image
Skill Examples:
  • Communicate the process used to make a presentation of visual artwork within limited space.
  • Select and present visual arts in accordance with given topics and ideas.
  • Describe the sequence of the process used to create the artwork.
  • Discuss Chauvet cave paintings, Diego Rivera's mural (The History of Mexico), or the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the events of the Norman Conquest.
  • Discover how and understand why the color yellow is a special color in other cultures and explore the color symbolism of various cultures.
Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to identify and explain how illustrations can show a person's culture by explaining key details in a text. 

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

Read aloud the book Why the Sky is Far Away by Mary-Joan Gerson. While the teacher reads the story aloud to the students, the students are recording their observations on sticky notes. Encourage them to pay attention to the color and style of the illustrations. 

After reading the book aloud, ask students to share what they noticed. Record their thoughts on the whiteboard or on a piece of chart paper. 

Ask the students what do they think the illustrator was trying to tell about the Nigerian culture. Make sure they cite specific evidence in the book to defend their answers. 

Assessment Strategies:

Have students write in their journals and explain how the illustrator recorded the culture of the Nigerian people. 


Advanced Preparation:

The teacher needs a copy of Why the Sky is Far Away by Mary-Joan Gerson.

Variation Tips (optional):

Have students create their own illustration to demonstrate what is important to them. 

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: