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Notes to the Teacher

Lesson Title: Art for Sale

Curricular Area: Visual Arts

Grade Level: 5

Goal/Purpose: Visual and Performing Arts components for Visual Arts
(excerpted from the California State Visual and Performing Arts Framework, California Department of Education, 1996)

H-SS Content Standards:

Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the wood-land peoples east of the Mississippi River.

Describe their varied customs and folklore traditions.

H-SS Analysis Skills

Research, Evidence, and Point of View.

Artistic Perception Component:

    1. Students use their senses to perceive works of art, objects in nature, events, and the environment.
    2. Students identify visual structures and functions of art, using the language of the visual arts.

    Creative Expression Component:

      1. Students develop skills in the visual arts and appreciation for using the visual arts in lifelong learning.
        • Students use the art museum as a resource for investigating the influences of the visual arts in a community.
      2. Students develop knowledge of and artistic skills in a variety of visual arts media and technical processes. (extension activity only)
        • Students demonstrate, through their creations, combinations of elements and principles of design. (extension activity only)

      Historical and Cultural Context Component:

      1. Students explore the role of the visual arts in culture and human history.
        • Students identify artworks from various cultures and understand the way in which the artworks reflect their culture.

      Aesthetic Valuing Component:

      1. Students derive meaning from artworks through analysis, interpretation, and judgment.
        • Students recognize and discuss multiple purposes for creating works of art.

    Length of Lesson: approximately 2 weeks


    1. For the presentation, the student's choice of medium will dictate the materials needed. Discuss what you have available with the students beforehand (e.g., presentation software, Hyperstudio, classroom art supplies, etc.) Offer them as many choices as possible.
    2. For the hands-on extension lesson you will need to prepare a handout that illustrates the main shapes used in Northwest Coast art: ovoid, U shape, split U shape, formline, eyelids, eyebrows, hands, feet, and claws. You can find examples of these in the books listed in your resources or any good book on Northwest Coast art. A good place to obtain such resources is in art museum bookstores.

      In addition you will need: large, colored construction paper (black, red, green, blue, and blue green); white drawing paper for the background; tracing paper for the students to trace the basic shapes; scissors; and glue.

    Interdisciplinary Connections: History-Social Science

    California Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills:

    Chronological and Spatial Thinking

    1. students place key events and people of the historical era they are studying both in a chronological sequence and within a spatial context; they interpret timelines

    3. students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same

    4. students use map and glove skills to determine the absolute locations of places and interpret information available through the map's legend, scale, and symbolic representations

    5. students judge the significance of the relative location of a place (e.g., close to a harbor, trade routes) and analyze how those relative advantages or disadvantages can change over time

    Research, Evidence and Point of View

    1. students differentiate between primary and secondary sources

    2. students pose relevant questions about events encountered in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, maps, art and architecture

    Historical Interpretation

    2. students identify the human and physical characteristics of the places they are studying and explain how these features form the unique character of these places

    California History/Social Science Content Standards - Grades K-12

    5.1 Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River, in terms of:

    1. how geography and climate influenced the way various nations lived and adjusted to the natural environment, including locations of villages, the distinct structures that were built, and how food, clothing, tools and utensils were obtained
    2. the varied customs and folklore traditions
    3. the varied economies and systems of government

    Teacher Resources:

  1. California State Visual and Performing Arts Framework, California Department of Education, 1996.
  2. Bancroft-Hunt, N. & Forman, W. (1989). People of the Totem. (2nd ed.) New York: Peter Bendrick Books.
  3. Clark, K., & Gilbert, J. (1993). Learning by Doing: Northwest Coast Native Indian Art . Victoria: Raven Publishing.
  4. Furst, J. & Furst, P. (1982). North American Indian Art. New York: Rizzoli.
  5. Hoyt-Goldsmith, D. (1990). Totem Pole. New York: Holiday House.
  6. Holm, B. (1993). Northwest Coast Indian Art. (6th ed.). Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas and McIntyre.
  7. Schuman, J. (1981). Art From Many Hands. Worcester: Davis Publications.
  8. Online Resources

    Teacher Background Information: Northwest Coast art elements:

    Prerequisite Learning:

    Before this project, students should have experience in:

    1. talking about the art concepts of line, shape, space, color, texture, style, and symmetry
    2. creating spreadsheets, charts, and graphs
    3. downloading graphics

    If students don't have prior knowledge of these things, consider them teachable moments!


    Written by Karen Coates, Professional Development Coordinator, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

    Questions, comments, and suggestions may be addressed to: