ALEX Lesson Plan


Critiquing Art

You may save this lesson plan to your hard drive as an html file by selecting "File", then "Save As" from your browser's pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.

  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Abby Gorum
System: Shelby County
School: Shelby County Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 5129


Critiquing Art


Students will begin to understand that being an critiquing art is not about what one likes or dislikes, but rather if the art makes sense or makes a statement. Students will learn how to use the vocabulary of the Elements and Principles of Design when discussing art.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
AED (3) Visual Arts
6. Compare works of art in terms of complementary color schemes, value, contrast, and asymmetrical balance.
Example: comparing elements of art and principles of design used to depict water in Winslow Homer's Gulf Stream and Katsushika Hokusai's The Great Wave
AED (3) Visual Arts
7. Identify symbols and signs depicting specific ideas, moods, feelings, and emotions generated by a work of art.
Examples: sign depicting theme of love in Robert Indiana's Love sculpture, raising of the flag in the National Iwo Jima Memorial Monument generating feelings of patriotism
AED (3) Visual Arts
8. Identify ideas and feelings expressed by individual artists in works of art.
Examples: feeling of triumph in Emmanuel Leutze's painting George Washington Crossing the Delaware, feeling of happiness in Robert Henri's Laughing Child
AED (3) Visual Arts
9. Contrast artistic styles of various cultures, times, and places.
cultures--Asian landscapes versus Albert Bierstadt's American landscapes,
times--art deco interiors versus minimalist interiors,
places--paintings of covered bridges in rural areas versus suspension bridges in urban areas
  • Using digital media to compare artistic styles of various works of art
  • Identifying symbols from different cultures, times, and places that portray common themes
  • Examples: color purple relating to royalty, arrow or spear symbolizing the hunt
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    4. Describe how the elements of art and principles of design, including rhythm, movement, and emphasis, are used in a specific work of art.
    Examples: movement as depicted in the use of line and painting techniques in Wassily Kandinsky's abstract works, emphasis as depicted in Giorgio de Chirico's The Nostalgia of the Infinite, rhythm as depicted in Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm, movement in Glenna Goodacre's sculpture Puddle Jumpers
  • Critiquing works of art orally or in writing, using the elements of art and principles of design
  • Example: reflecting upon the creative process and success of personal works of art in an electronic portfolio
    AED (4) Visual Arts
    6. Compare different interpretations of the same subject or theme in art.
    Example: landscapes by Impressionist and Hudson River School artists
    AED (5) Visual Arts
    4. Critique personal works of art orally or in writing according to specified criteria, including elements of art, principals of design, technical skill, and creativity.
  • Organizing the progression of artwork in a personal portfolio
  • AED (5) Visual Arts
    6. Describe works of art according to the style of various cultures, times, and places.
    cultures--artistic styles of Native American cultures of the Southwestern and Pacific Northwestern United States,
    times--Asher B. Durand's early nineteenth-century painting Kindred Spirits,
    places--gargoyles and sculptures known as grotesques from European countries
  • Describing ways in which the subject matter of other disciplines is interrelated with the visual arts
  • Examples:
    mathematics--Mavrits Cornelis (M. C.) Esher and tesselations;
    language arts--Patricia Pollaco and book illustrations;
    social studies--Matthew Brady and Civil War photography;
    science--transformation of shapes to forms, circles to spheres, squares to cubes, and triangles to pyramids
    AED (5) Visual Arts
    7. Associate a particular artistic style with an individual artist.
    Examples: Claude Monet with Impressionism, Claes Oldenberg with pop art, Alfred Leslie with photorealism
  • Using traditional and digital media to arrange works of art according to culture, theme, and historical period
  • Example: arranging works of art within a specific art movement or on a timeline
    TC2 (3-5)
    1. Use input and output devices of technology systems.
    Examples: input—recording devices, keyboards, touchscreens
  • Demonstrating ergonomics relative to technology systems
  • Demonstrating correct keyboarding techniques
  • Demonstrating safe removal of storage media
  • TC2 (3-5)
    2. Use various technology applications, including word processing and multimedia software.
  • Using navigational features commonly found in technology applications
  • Identifying digital file types
  • ELA2015 (3)
    24. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. [W.3.3]
    a. Establish a situation and introduce a narrator, characters, or both; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally. [W.3.3a]
    b. Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations. [W.3.3b]
    c. Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order. [W.3.3c]
    d. Provide a sense of closure. [W.3.3d]

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will discuss the role and career of art critic. Students will state the Elements and Principles of Art and explain their relation to critiquing artwork.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Printing paper, art prints and posters

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computer with Internet access, Alpha-Smarts or some other type of word processor, printer, art websites to view artwork being discussed or museum software


    The teacher will need to collect art prints and posters and preview and bookmark the websites (if used).

    1.)Discuss with students what an art critic is and does. Tell them that they will get to pretend that they are critics and critique a painting.

    2.)The teacher will review the Elements and Principles of Art. The teacher will show examples of the principles and elements in several pieces of art.
    (Jiskha Homework Help)
    A simple summarization of the Elements and Principles of Art

    3.)This site reviews major elements of art.
    (Sanford & A Lifetime of Color: Study Art)
    This site contains many resources including an interactive timeline of art.

    4.)The teacher will demonstrate to the students how to describe a piece of art using the Elements and Principles. The teacher will explain to the students that they are not allowed to use 'I like...' or 'I hate...' unless they can use the Elements and Principles to back up their statements.
    (The Artchive)
    A website containing many famous artworks

    5.)On one picture, the teacher will practice with the students on how to talk about the art. The teacher might start by saying, "Someone tell me about the colors that are used." Other questions that might be asked are, "What kind of lines are used?" and "What is the picture about?"

    6.)Finally, the teacher will display a piece of art for the students to critique on their own. (Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" is a good one to use.) If this is the first time for the students to do this, the teacher should write on the board the Elements and Principles on which the students are to concentrate.
    A website containing multiple images of artworks

    7.)The teacher should have the students write/type a few sentences using their art vocabulary to describe the art. As the students get better at this the more they can write/type. After a while they should be able to back up their opinions with facts about the art.

    8.)If students have typed their work, the teacher will print the critiques. This gives a more professional feeling to the reviews. The students may read their critiques to the class and they may choose to combine the critiques into an art review newsletter or other publication to share with other classes and/or parents.


    Assessment Strategies

    Teacher observation of student participation and class discussion (answering questions, end product, correct use of vocabulary) will be used for evaluation.





    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.