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Grade: Middle
Subject: Language

#3844. Aesthetic Theories of Art

Art, level: Senior
Posted Wed Nov 22 10:13:04 PST 2006 by Kerry O'Hern (
Temple City High School, Temple City
Materials Required: see lesson plan
Activity Time: 50 min.
Concepts Taught: Aesthetic theories, vocabulary development, visual literacy

Kerry O'Hern
Temple City High School
Art 1

Introduction to the Aesthetic Theories of Art

Lesson Rational: The aesthetic theories of art are a fundamental part of art that the students will need to know to be successful throughout the rest of the year. In this lesson the students will learn the four major aesthetic theories: formalism, realism, expressionism, and instrumentalism. They will be introduced to these theories through written and visual definitions of these terms. The students will prove their understanding of these theories by recreating a landscape in the theory they are given. This lesson is extremely important because it is a referential lesson. Because we will be continually referring back to these theories/terms in this class, it is extremely important that the students are able to grasp the majority of the information in today's lesson.

Content Standards:
Skills, Processes, Materials, and Tools
2.4 Review and refine observational drawing skills.

Make Informed Judgments
4.3 Formulate and support a position regarding the aesthetic value of a specific work of art and change or defend that position after considering the views of others.

ELD Standards:
Reading: Fluency and systematic vocabulary development
Intermediate: Use knowledge of English to decode morphemes, phonics, and syntax to decode written text.
Uses standard dictionary to determine meanings of unknown vocabulary.

Writing: Strategies and Applications
Beginning: Create simple sentences or phrases with some assistance.
Intermediate: Use more complex vocabulary and sentences for language arts and other content areas (art).

Learning Objectives:
1) Given a power point presentation on the aesthetic theories, students will be able to identify visually what these four theories look like in artwork.
2) After reviewing the four aesthetic theories, students will show their understanding of the theories by recreating a landscape in the same manner of the theory they are given.
3) Students will defend their drawing by saying what in their drawing is formalist, expressionist, realist, or instrumentalist.

Assessment for Learning
1) Students will complete a warm-up that will lead into the aesthetic lesson. This will help them feel prepared for the exercise.
2) Students will provide the answers that justify what makes their drawing fit into the aesthetic theory they were given.

Assessment of Learning
1) Students will complete a drawing in the aesthetic theory they were given, and defend why their drawing meets that theory.

Academic Language
Function: Justification
Students will defend their drawing by telling me what features of their drawing made it fit into the aesthetic theory they were given.

Sentence Structure:
My picture shows the aesthetic theory of ____________________ because of these features ____________________, ______________________, _______________.

Instructional Strategies
Time Learning Activities Purpose
5 min. Warm-up, class business, and role.
Warm-up: Please read the passage in front of you and write or draw what you imagine this passage representing. Please write down all of the adjectives that describe the setting, like: great, covered, circles, snowy white, beautiful, shapely, etc. This warm-up helps to get the students prepared for the assignment that they will be completing later in the day. It also helps the EL students begin to get a grasp on the passage, rather than having the assignment be the first time they view the literature.
5 min. Review of the warm-up, including going over the description words (which I will write on the board). We will also review aesthetics and I will introduce today's lesson. Students will receive a resource sheet with written and visual examples for each of the terms. This is mainly to help the English language learners. The descriptive words in a passage are what help students to imagine a setting, making the scene more clear to all of the students, which is a plus!
20 min. Power-point presentation, along with a referential handout, that describes the four aesthetic theories.
The students and I will both divulge visual examples from the images shown that make that image fall into the aesthetic theory discussed. The written and visual examples will aide the students in a greater understanding of the aesthetic theories.
5 min. Following the Power Point, we will play a review game in which students will visually identify, categorize and explain why they put that image into the aesthetic theory they chose. This is to give me an idea of how well they understood the content of the lesson. It also gives the students the chance to review the information taught.
5 min. The project will be announced and any questions will be answered. I will randomly pass out cards with one aesthetic theory written on it. This is so that any misconceptions can be cleared up now.
10 min. Students will complete the aesthetic project: a representational drawing according to the aesthetic theory they were given and a paragraph on how they have successfully shown that aesthetic theory. Students who finish early will have a chance to work on their upside-down drawings. This exercise will reinforce that the students have understood the aesthetic theories and know how they are visual represented in the arts. They will then be asked to defend their drawings by stating why what they drew fits into the aesthetic theory they were given.
3 min. Clean-up

Announce homework This is to get the classroom back into the order it was when they arrived.

Since there will not be enough time to finish this in class, the students will be required to finish this at home for homework.

Power-Point presentation -- Aesthetic theories
Aesthetic theories handout
Postcards that reflect the theories
Literary passage along with assignment directions
4 x 5 paper

Brick Words
Aesthetic theories:
Mortar Words
The Elements of Art
The Principles of Design