Art and Language Arts Activity
Children look at pictures of famous heroes as they were captured by painters or, especially, sculptors, and consider the meaning of such memorials.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Reference works with reproductions of historical statues, for example, art
books, history books, biographies, illustrated materials on Washington, DC, and
- Clay (optional)
- Drawing materials (optional)
WHAT TO DO
- Remind children about some of the famous heroes you've discussed in class or
read about, such as the Presidents. Explain that some of these people
lived before photography was invented. We know what they looked like only
because someone painted their portraits. Write the word "portrait" on the board
and then show children some, especially those of early historical figures.
- Ask children if they've ever seen statues of people. Have them tell what
they saw and where. If there are historical statues in your community, name them
and ask children if they remember what they looked like.
- Display and identify several pictures of statues of the Presidents, such as those
in the nation's capital. Elicit children's ideas on why
some people have statues and memorials made of them. (Possible answers: So we would know
what they looked like. They were important people. They were heroes. People
wanted everyone to keep these people in their memories for many years. They
wanted all Americans to remember these people.)
- Children may have learned the playground game "Statues." To practice it, have
children form a circle, then walk slowly around the room. When you say "Freeze"
the first time, children must come to a stop in whatever position they're in.
When you say "Unfreeze, children can begin to move. Explain that the next time
you say "Freeze," they must immediately take a position as though they were
about to do something important or heroic. Unfreeze several children and ask
them to describe what they were posing as.
- After children take their seats, display all the pictures of statues and
have teams of children study them closely. Invite teams to the front of the
room to imitate the poses of some of the statues while others guess who they
are. (Children can also pose together to imitate a group sculpture.)
- When everyone has participated, encourage a discussion in which children
describe how they felt when they imitated the pose of a hero. As they talk
about their feelings, list their descriptive words on the board.
Have children create a clay sculpture (or a portrait) of a modern-day person
they consider to be a hero. Then have them write a few sentences to tell what
makes this person a hero. Encourage children to use some of the descriptive
words they used to describe how they felt posing as statues of heroes.
Create an art gallery with the statues and drawings children have made of
modern-day and the reproductions of paintings and sculptures of historical
heroes. Establish visiting hours and discuss proper behavior in such a place.
Have children stroll through the gallery. You might have some children act as
guides who tell a little about each display. Use this experience as a rehearsal
for a field trip to a historical building, library, or museum.
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