Lesson plan

Pause, Breathe, Create

In this lesson, students will explore how art can be a tool to express or reflect on emotions.
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Students will be able to understand and express their emotions through artwork.

(10 minutes)
Emotions in ArtGallery Walk Note Catcher
  • Before the lesson begins, write "Emotions in Art" on the board, and place the gallery walk images you selected around the room.
  • Join the class together in a circle, either seated or standing.
  • Ask them to become as still as they can, and to take a few deep breaths.
  • Guide students to check in with their bodies.
  • Ask, "How do you feel? Happy? Bored? Sad?"
  • Tell them that whatever they may feel is totally okay.
  • Invite them to notice how the emotion feels in their body and to label the emotion. For example, if they notice they are feeling happy they can silently say, "Happy...happy..."
  • Encourage them to really reflect on how that emotion feels in their body. For example, their heart may feel warm, or their toes may tingle.
  • Have them take a few deep breaths and open their eyes when they are ready.
  • Ask the students what they noticed, what emotions they felt, and where they felt them in their body.
  • Project an artwork image on the board.
  • Tell the class to look at the colors and shapes.
  • Ask them how they feel when they look at this image.
  • Take 2–3 responses.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that art can make us feel different ways, and it can be a great way to reflect on or express emotions.
  • Point out the artwork placed on the walls.
  • Tell students that they will walk around the room in silence and write down what they notice in each painting. They should also reflect on how they feel when looking at each artwork.
  • Pass out the Gallery Walk Note Catcher worksheet.
  • Review the instructions on what to look for and the list of emotions.
  • Model how to move through the gallery walk.
  • Tell the class that they will have 1–2 minutes at each station and you will ring the bell after their time has ended.
  • Ask students to choose a piece of art and begin.
  • Ring the chime after 1–2 minutes, and have students rotate to a new artwork.
  • Ring the chime after students have rotated through all the art.
(10 minutes)
  • Join the class back together in a circle.
  • Project each image from the gallery walk on the board.
  • Tell students to refer back to their note catchers.
  • Ask questions about each image, such as, "What did you notice? How did you feel?"
  • Explain that artists can express their emotions through art.
  • Pass out the Emotions in Art worksheet.
  • Read the worksheet's instructions, and model how to complete the activity to create a piece of art, based on how you feel.
  • Encourage students to pause, breathe, then create!
  • Ask them if they have any questions.
  • Pass out coloring supplies.
(20 minutes)
  • Have students return to their seats to independently complete the worksheet.

Enrichment:Ask advanced students to create a more detailed and complex painting.

Support:Provide one-on-one or group support during the independent working time to help students complete the worksheet.

(5 minutes)
  • During the gallery walk and independent working time, walk around the room and check in with students to assess their understanding of how art can be a powerful way to understand and express emotions.
(10 minutes)
  • Once completed, ask students to hang up their artwork around the room.
  • Bring the class back together in a circle.
  • Invite them to walk around the room to take in their classmates' art.
  • Encourage them to notice how they feel (and what emotion is being expressed) as they look at the pieces.
  • Join the class back together in a circle.
  • Ask each person to share one word connected to emotions and art that they would like to end the class with.

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