Historical, Culturally Diverse, Standards-Based Art Lessons to Inspire Young Artists

March 22, 2017

Sneak Peek at M. C. Escher Art Curriculum

M. C. Eshcer

Education experts talk about the benefits of art education and how it increases students’ performance across disciplines, expanding language development, strengthening critical thinking skills and more. M. C. Escher provides a good example of how art education benefits students in other subjects.

Meet the Masters students learn how M. C. Escher created unique geometric compositions, called tessellations. His tessellations and optical illusions challenge their imaginations and reinforce a variety of mathematical concepts.

Step 1: Introducing the Master

Meet the Masters students learn that a tessellation is like a puzzle with pieces that are all the same. Escher saw rich possibilities in repeating patterns and developed a system to turn these patterns into beautiful works of art. With each photograph in the slide show, students are encouraged to have fun discovering the movement Escher created as he constructed impossible worlds.

Step 2: Learning From the Master

Back in the classroom, students enjoy hands-on practice with these amazing patterns. They receive worksheets with a variety of tessellations and apply different colors to different animal shapes so they can view the various elements more easily. The older students use their creativity to produce their own tessellations with several options of shapes. They follow instructions to add details which make their creations come to life.

M.C. Escher – Patterns and Tessellations

Step 3: Working With the Master

Students begin by learning a special method for creating their own unique tessellation shape. After cutting their shapes out of tag board, students trace them onto art paper, making sure each shape fits into the next with no overlapping. When the paper is filled, they notice that some of the partial shapes around the edges add interest and movement to their drawing. They select two contrasting colors and, beginning in the center, apply dry paint powder with a cotton ball. As they use the second color, they are reminded how contrasting colors are far apart on the color wheel. Students are shown how to use their imaginations to add some simple details that make their creations come alive. Advanced level students are shown how to create what Escher called his “metamorphose” where the figures at one end “morph” into something else at the other end of the canvas. Every student’s tessellation is unique, just like M. C. Escher’s.

How does this art lesson help students with math?

Understanding patterns is a crucial building block in mathematical reasoning. Studies show that children’s understanding of patterns contributes to the development of counting, problem solving and understanding number combinations. Understanding patterns provides the basis for understanding algebra. The benefits of understanding patterns can be applied to many other subjects as well. For example, patterns form the basis of music. In science, understanding animal patterns can be used to help endangered species.

Meet the Masters does not simply provide art projects. Yes, students learn about art history, and they are introduced to new vocabulary in a meaningful way. But the broader lesson is that Meet the Masters provides an avenue to make cross connections with a variety of other subjects, like M. C. Escher and math.

Learn more about our M. C. Escher art project and examples from MTM students.

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February 7, 2017

Art Lesson Plans for Elementary School Teachers Focused on History, Standards & Inspiration

Historical, Culturally Diverse, Standards-Based Art Lessons to Inspire Young Artists

Meet the Masters has been providing K-8 art curriculum for over 30 years.  The lessons are timed, scripted and can be implemented by classroom teachers or parent volunteers.  Training DVDs and art supplies can be added to the purchase of artist units to ensure success at your school.

Here are the artists that make up each track:


Each track includes an implementation guide with step-by-step instructions, PowerPoint slides, visual aids, art prints, game props and vocabulary words. We recommend purchasing complete tracks for consistency and allowing students to learn from a multitude of different artists throughout the year. All levels of instruction (Beg, Int and Adv) are included with unit or track purchases.

Learn more about how Meet the Masters works.

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November 15, 2014

A Sneak Peek at Winslow Homer Art Curriculum – “Beware of snakes and mice.”

Winslow Homer was an American artist who lived on the East Coast in the late 1800’s. He valued his privacy, and found that the warning sign, “Beware of snakes and mice,” posted on his studio door helped keep tourists and snoopers at bay.

Meet the Masters students learn how Homer fooled his own father, who planned to visit his studio. Homer posted a sign on the door that said “Coal Bin” so his father did not even knock! Now students are interested in this American artist and ready to learn more about what made him so famous.

Step 1: Introducing the Master
The Meet the Masters lesson begins with a multi-media assembly using PowerPoint slides to learn about Winslow Homer’s life. He began his artistic life as an Illustrator for newspapers. Students learn how illustrations were used in newspapers before the invention of the camera. Homer sketched historical events of his time, like Abraham Lincoln’s Presidential Inauguration. He also illustrated the Civil War, sketching scenes while watching them happen. Then he started the time-consuming process of drawing and whittling the sketch on a block of wood. The wood was inked and pressed onto paper, resulting in a Woodblock Print. Students examine a slide of a close-up view to see the hundreds of lines Homer drew on his block of wood.

As the slide show continues, students view exciting ocean and shipwreck paintings to see examples of Homer’s use of color to create a Focal Point. They also discover his use of Contrast by placing light against dark, and Value to define form and create spatial illusions. You can see how MTM introduces and illustrates vocabulary in a meaningful and memorable way.

Step 2: Learning From the Master
Back in the classroom, children learn how to create their own color value from this master artist. They are reminded that value is the use of light and dark in art, the scale of one color as it transforms from lightest to darkest. On their worksheets, beginner students use one crayon to color sailboats, some dark and some light, leaving some areas white. Advanced students are reminded of Homer’s use of lines on his woodblock prints. He made black by drawing lines very close together and lighter hues by using fewer lines. Students create their own value scale using lines. Then they show contrast on a beach scene by putting different values next to each other. Now students are ready for the real fun.

Step 3: Working With the Master
Beginner and Intermediate students receive gray, black and white construction paper, and white and black oil pastels. How can they create a beautiful ocean sailboat scene with just black and white? Using Homer’s values! Students begin by creating a gray sky and black ocean. Using the white oil pastel crayon, they fill the black ocean below the Horizon Line with a big value chart. Is that the setting sun or the rising moon reflecting off the ocean? Students select dawn or dusk by how much white they apply in their contrast. Using the three colors of construction paper, they cut out a sailboat and sails, then tear and crumble shapes for rocks. Students have made their “oceans of value” look realistic by creating depth, distance, shadows and highlights following Homer’s examples of value.

Advanced students create a beautiful Homer-style beach scene using only value. They place tracing paper over a laminated drawing of a girl on the beach. With a soft-lead pencil, they use the side of the lead to make a value scale. Students concentrate on making values from lines. Beginning lightly, they work towards the darker values. As a finishing touch, a few of the lines are traced to show edges and preserve realism. They are surprised to create a beautiful outdoor scene using only the side of a pencil and Homer’s values. What a memorable way to relive turn-of-the-century Americana and learn about Homer’s superb mastery of value.

When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway. -Winslow Homer

Learn more about the Homer art curriculum and see student artwork examples.

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November 15, 2016

Art Curriculum That Will Blow Your Creative Mind – Not Your PTO/School Budget

Rembrandt masterpieces from 2nd & 3rd graders.

Rembrandt masterpieces from 2nd & 3rd graders.

Meet the Masters offers 35 different artists to elementary school students.  Lessons are historically-based, align with state standards and can be easily implemented by either teachers or volunteers.  Most schools purchase a track of artists (7 artists) and supplies for less than $2600.  That price will give you enough supplies to make 750 art projects for each of the 7 artists, plus, you will own the curriculum forever at your school.

Fill out this form to get pricing instantly via email or contact us today!

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