Saturday, October 1, 2011

let's build a lesson together...Franz Marc

I'm about to suggest something that may be a huge disaster. Something that despite the 100's of art teachers blogging and reading and sharing each others lessons that I don't think I have seen much of. Something that may make some people uncomfortable.

I am going to suggest we put our creative brainpower together and create a lesson together. One that has ideas and feedback from lots of comments and blogger. One that doesn't really "belong" to anyone.

Am I just trying to get other people to do my work for me? Seriously no. I'm more trying to using that great P.D. word...collaborate with my coworkers. It's just that 10 years ago I would be doing this in person with the other teachers at my district and now that we don't have meetings together, and the Internet is the great staff room for art teachers...I dare us to try to collaborate online.

So if you are with me read on! Maybe we can make this a monthly thing where people send in a topic or artist they want to create a lesson for/about and we work together to make something awesome.

Lesson mission: Create a lesson inspired by Franz Marc that asks students to think about expressive color

Artist: Franz Marc

Materials available: Tempera paint, oil pastels, paper, colored construction paper, scissors and glue

Target age range: 4th-7th grade

Specific goals:
*Students will view and discuss the work of Franz Marc
*Students will learn basic info about the life of Franz Marc
*Students will discuss the concepts of expressionist, abstracted vs. realism and cubism
*Students will brainstorm an animal they feel represents them
*Using a variety or resources students will draw this animal
*Students will position their animal in a pose that expresses a feeling or personality trait
*Students will discuss how different artist and cultures give colors different meanings
*Students will brainstorm their own personal color meanings
*Students will choose a color for their animal that has personal meaning. They must be able to explain their color choice beyond...I like purple best. More like, "I choose purple because it means to be Royal, rich and powerful and I want to be those things."
*Students will create a Franz Marc inspired background/setting for their animal

*What material would be best for drawing and coloring the animal? (paint or oil pastel)
*What material would be best for creating the background setting? (paint or oil pastel)
*What kinds of guidelines/suggestions will help students make an interesting setting. Should it be more cubist...should they be able to just create whatever setting they like, should small details be allowed or not allowed?
*Should the animal and background be created on the same paper or on separate papers and then glued together.
*Should the animal or background be made from collage or is that getting too Eric Carle-ey (he is a big fan of Franz Marc by the way)
*How can we make sure the animal is in proportion to the rest of the artwork
*How can we help students think of expressing emotions and personality traits through color, through animal choice and through animal position. Should we brainstorm as a class, as table directed should it be?
*Do you have a completely different way to approach this lesson (still using the supplies's what we have)
*Are these way to abstract of concepts for 4th-7th graders?

Comment with your thoughts and ideas if you want to play along. EVERYONE who contributes ideas and feedback will get "credit" on our final lesson that we make. Maybe you want to make a mock-up of what you think would look great for this lesson and put it on your blog. Just link back to this so we can get as many amazing art teachers working together as possible!


  1. i like this idea. i've often taught a lesson based on his yellow cow, probably my favorite, and emphasis. usually with the younger kids, though. how do you show what's important (emphasis)? make it "big, bright, and in the middle." i'll be thinking of how we can expand it into more mature kiddos.

  2. I like this idea too. I have never taught a lesson on Franz Marc, but I have always enjoyed his work. Wasn't he part of the "Blue Rider" group with Kandinsky? I like the idea of creating an abstract background and a modeled animal as the "emphasis"(thanks Hope). It would be a good exercise to list different animals and describe their characteristics(could be done with color too). Hmmmm....lots to think about...

  3. Kristyn, yes he was part of the Blue Rider group, one of the founders I think. I'm working on a google docs presentation on him with a question sheet that matches that I will put up for everyone.

    Hope emphasis is a great vocab word that we should add to the lesson.

    I think kids will really be attracted to the he animals and bright colors Marc uses.

  4. This is a fabulous way to network with each other and create a collaborative lesson plan. I think the questions you've posed are a great jumping off point. I like the idea of creating the animal and background separately because it's a good opportunity to teach cubism (albeit simplified for 4th and 5th grades).I thought of storybook animals when you asked how to draw the animals posing expressing an emotion or mood. Specifically, Giraffe's can't Dance,Dinosaurs love Underpants, Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp etc. Using some of the images as inspiration for posing the animals might be helpful to students. I am also a fan of Franz Marc but have never attempted a lesson on him. Thanks for bringing this collaboration to life!

  5. I love the idea of doing this on a regular basis because I'm at a private school and the only art teacher... so I have NO one to collaborate with this year. I've also wanted to do a lesson on Franz Marc.
    I think I would have them create a wet-in-wet watercolor background (if you only have tempera, they could use very watered down tempera or pan tempera)..maybe with an abstract landscape in mind..just let them have fun seeing what the colors do when they blend and mix on their own... and then have the students draw their animal in oil pastel ON TOP of the colored background. I'd tell them that their animal(s) have to be large enough to be within one inch of each edge of the paper so that they draw big. I would have them practice drawing this big in their sketchbooks several time to make sure they got the size right. If I had them, i'd bring in toy animals to use to draw from....or photos of animals.

  6. I like it! I just don't know? I will have to think about this to come up with SOMETHING that is doable. Thanks for the challenge I love his work too.

  7. Hi I completed a similar project about 18 months a ago . Check it on my blog.

  8. I worked on this project today. Kids had to choose an animal they like and decide which unusual color to use. They painted (acrylic) texture. In the next session they will paint background on the other paper and cut out pieces for animal they want to create. I showed them the book by Eric Carl which was inspired by Franz Marc's Blue Horse. They will paste pieces on the painted background.

  9. Here are some of the Expressive colored animals that we did in my Painting 1 class at the high school level.