ALEX Learning Activity


Determining Mood

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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: 1804
Determining Mood
Digital Tool/Resource:
Web Address – URL:
Not Applicable

Students will be able to interpret the mood of a piece of art by describing the setting of the piece and the colors used within. 

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: 2
7 ) Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot. [RL.2.7]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.2.7- Use an illustration to identify a character setting, or plot of a story.

Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 2
Visual Arts
12) Interpret art by identifying the mood or feeling suggested by a work of art through subject matter and visual qualities.

Examples: Talk about color qualities and composition in Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Responding
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Process Components: Perceive, Analyze, Interpret
Essential Questions:
EU: People gain insights into meanings of artworks by engaging in the process of art criticism.
EQ: What is the value of engaging in the process of art criticism? How can the viewer "read" a work of art as text? How does knowing and using visual arts vocabularies help us understand and interpret works of art?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Principles of design
    • Balance
  • Brainstorming
  • Composition
  • Concepts
  • Characteristic
  • Elements of art
    • Space
    • Value
  • Expressive properties
  • Foreground
  • Middle ground
  • Neutral colors
  • Resist
Skill Examples:
  • Compare lines on a seashell to lines made by fence posts.
  • Discuss how artists make choices that communicate ideas in works of art.
  • Discuss how artists use familiar symbols to express and create artwork.
  • Discuss how the artistic process can lead to "happy accidents" discovering something new.
  • Use basic self-assessment strategies to improve their artworks.
  • Discuss the difference between assessing the quality of an artwork and personal preference for the work.
  • Talk about color qualities and composition in Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist.
  • Discuss and recognize how artists use different materials and processes to create art.
  • Recognize patterns and textures that can be found in many places in and around the school and community.
  • Use statements that include artistic terminology such as, "I know the texture of the cat is soft from the pencil marks I see."
Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to identify the mood of a work of art. 

Students will be able to use the work of art to demonstrate an understanding of character and setting. 

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

The teacher will display a work of art. (Suggestions: Christiana's World by Andrew Wyeth, ANY age-appropriate work by Keith Haring, works by Cezanne or Van Gogh)- Make sure the piece you chose has both characters and a setting. 

Display the work of art. The students will say what they noticed about the characters-how they stand, what colors are used, facial expressions, etc.

The students will then say what they notice about the setting of the piece-inside or outside? brightly lit? dark and gloomy? etc.

After listing all of those items-students will say what they think the mood of the piece is or what the painter was trying to make them feel in the painting. 

Ask what would happen if the colors were changed, would the mood change? What if instead of bright, cheery colors, the artist used dark and gloomy colors?

What if the character in the bright colors was wearing a frown? How would the mood change?

Assessment Strategies:

Students will recreate the work of art but change ONE detail to change the mood of the piece. For example, if the painting was done in bright, bold colors, the students will change it to dark, gloomy colors.

Advanced Preparation:

The teacher will need to find an age appropriate work of art to display that contains characters and a setting. 

Variation Tips (optional):

Have students write a story about the character in a piece of artwork.

Add a soundtrack to a painting to change the mood. If it is a peaceful nature scene, how would the mood change when the Jaws theme song is played?

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
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