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Submitted Teaching/Assignment Idea


Title: Gr. 4 Visual Arts


This visual arts lesson is integrated with cultural celebrations and with mathematics (geometry and spatial sense). The lesson should take place during Ramadan, as it is grounded in the celebration of Eid al Fitr. It also examines an Islamic art form and the importance of the star in Muslim culture.

The lesson draws upon prior knowledge of two-dimensional geometric shapes, and of the impact and meaning of colour and line in works of art.

The visual arts component of the lesson is the creation of an Eid al Fitr greeting card, and/or, the creation of an Islamic star (student's choice). Written and oral reflection is also included.

This lesson will likely require two 40-minute periods to complete. It was geared toward a Grade 4 class of 24 students, but it could be adapted to meet the expectations of higher grades.

During Ramadan, students have been introduced to the meaning of this observance, and to Islamic art in general, primarily through the reading and display of relevant books with pictures, followed by discussion.

Students will acknowledge Eid al Fitr with the creation of a greeting card, using paper, crayons, pencil crayons and/or markers. Alternatively, students may choose to create an Islamic star, using thin paper plates, pencil and ruler, and a variety of colouring tools. A "gallery walk" will encourage oral commentary and feedback, while the closing activity will take the form of written reflections.

Visual Arts
1. will produce a two-dimensional work of art that communicates ideas, thoughts, or feelings;
2. will identify the elements of design (primarily colour and line; possibly space, texture and shape) that they used in their art work;
3. should be able to identify the emotional qualities of the colours they chose (e.g. energy, joy). Students who choose the Islamic star should be able to identify the emotional quality of the lines (e.g. energy).

Students will:
investigate the attributes of two-dimensional shapes using concrete materials and drawings;
recognize the occurrence and application of geometric properties in the everyday world.

Students will:
communicate ideas and information for a variety of purposes and to specific audiences;
use and spell correctly the vocabulary appropriate for this grade level;
use correctly the conventions specified for this grade level;
listen to and comment positively on the contributions of others;
print or use cursive writing legibly.

Entire class on the carpet during mental set and access of prior knowledge.
Working groups: each table grouping (of 4 or 5) will include at least one stronger student.
ESL students may be paired up per the teacher's discretion; i.e. partnered with a student sharing the same language, or with a kind and tolerant native-English speaker.

Multiple Intelligences Accessed
Natural (possibly)
Musical (optional)

Stated Objectives and Purpose
Today we are going to learn more about Ramadan.
We are also going to create some art work which will celebrate a very important event at the end of Ramadan.

Mental Set and Access of Prior Knowledge
Call children to the carpet.
Read Ramadan by David Marx.
Ask/explain: When does Ramadan end this year? (November 26th in 2003)
Explain Eid al Fitr, accompany with jot notes on the chalkboard easel:
Eid al Fitr. = the feast of the fast-breaking; clarify feast, fast-breaking
Celebrated also with exchange of greeting cards, giving of gifts, helping others less fortunate in tangible ways; connect to other cultural celebrations (e.g. Kwanzaa, Christmas).
Show photographs from Splendors of Islam by Dominique Clévenot.
Reinforce previous learning through questioning:
favourite Islamic design elements are stars, circles, and other geometric shapes; flowers and other designs from nature; vivid colours; repeated patterns.
human and animal figures are not used, because of the belief that only God can create a living creature.

Performance Task Part I: Planning
Explain performance task:
Display flip chart page(s) outlining the choices (refer Attachment 2).
Check for understanding.

Greeting Card
Show a few sample greeting cards; key points to cover:
importance of planning and sketching in pencil before colouring
general format of a greeting card
specific statement of purpose: Eid al Fitr
relevant picture/decoration: favourite Islamic design elements; importance of family and friends
brief greeting
personal signature

Islamic Star
Show the examples from p.31 of Beliefs and Cultures. Muslim. An Information and Activity Book by Richard Tames.
Why do these stars have impact? => colour, simplicity, use of straight lines all contribute to the energy of the design.
Model the steps in creating the star (in advance, prepare paper plates showing the progression of the pencilled lines step by step; do not colour); key points to cover:
How to find the centre of a circle (e.g. folding; measuring)
Importance of using a pencil and ruler.
Importance of planning before colouring.
Reinforce: the remainder of this period will be used to plan and sketch out your art work on newsprint.
Check for understanding.
Assign students to table groupings if these are different than usual.
Send one child from each table grouping to fetch newsprint and distribute rulers.
One group at a time, other students return to their tables.
At the front of the room, post the flip chart page outlining the activity and choices.
Optional: play music.
Circulate to provide clarification as required.
Ensure names on work.
Direct tidy up.

Performance Task Part II: Finished Work, Gallery Walk and Reflection
Have newsprint sketches and other materials ready at the side of the room.
Class review of the flip chart page(s) outlining the activity; cross out the word Plan and print in Finish.
Check for understanding.
Assign students to distribute plans from the previous period and to fetch materials.
Students begin working on their finished version.
Optional: play music.
Circulate to provide clarification as required.
Ensure names on work.
Direct tidy up of materials, but leave art work on the tables.
Gallery walk and commentary.
Distribute the Reflection assignment; go through its requirements.
Check for understanding.
Reflection assignment will preferably be completed in class, but it may be assigned as homework.
Display the greeting cards and stars in the hallway, on the classroom door, or in the classroom.

During the Gallery Walk, the teacher will guide and encourage positive
commentary on works of art that the students particularly notice. S/he will point out effective use of colour and line, and possibly other elements of design.
Key questions:
Why did you choose this work to talk about?
How did the artist use colour/line to express meaning/emotion/ feelings?
What feelings do you sense?
Directed to the individual artist: What feelings were you trying to express?

The assessment of this assignment is largely diagnostic, consisting of general observations; e.g. the teacher will provide positive written feedback and note one suggestion (refer Attachment 5).

The teacher will collect and review the Reflection sheets; make notes to self and/or students as required before returning the Reflections to the students for filing in their Visual Arts notebooks.


This lesson
Ensure that no students have a serious cultural objection to listening to music. If such an objection exists, either do not play music, or arrange for these students to work in a quiet area.
Students who work quickly or who are not satisfied* may create a second piece or try the other activity. *Try to ascertain what "went wrong" and how the student will do things differently. Encourage careful planning as a first step.
Simple sans serif printing and text has been used on flip charts and handouts to ESL/special needs students.
The Reflection handout for the ESL and special needs students has been simplified (refer Attachment 4).
Provide extra time to all students as required; if not during this lesson, then during a "catch up" period later in the week.

Prior Knowledge
Unusual vocabulary words and their meanings — e.g. Muslim, Ramadan, fast — are on cards which are posted in a visible location.
Colour-wheel poster with printed names of the colours is permanently displayed.

This lesson:

Marx, David F. (2002). Ramadan. New York, NY: Children's Press.
Tames, Richard. (1996). Beliefs and Cultures. Muslim. An Information and
Activity Book. Danbury, CT: Children's Press. Refer to
pp. 30-31 for details and a picture of the Islamic star activity.

Flip chart and markers (or chalkboard easel and chalk)
Samples of greeting cards
Newsprint sheets
Pencils, rulers and erasers

Construction paper
Thin paper plates
Models of the step-by-step progression of the pencilled lines in the Islamic star
Coloured markers, crayons, pencil crayons
Visual Arts notebooks
Masking tape

Reflection (refer Attachments 3 and 4)

Optional — for use in greeting-card creation
Paper scraps of various colours

Optional — background music
CD/tape player, extension cord

Prior Knowledge:

During Ramadan, some of these books were read aloud. All were on display in the classroom and were available daily as a quiet reading selection.

Clévenot, Dominique. (2000). Splendors of Islam. New York, NY: The
Vendome Press. An oversize book with many beautiful photographs of
Islamic ornamental motifs.
Matthews, Mary. (2002). Magid Fasts for Ramadan. New York, NY:
Clarion Books.
Halfmann, Janet. (2000). Mosques. Mankato, Minnesota: Creative
Education. Provides many examples of decorative motifs.
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane. (2001). Celebrating Ramadan. New York, NY:
Holiday House.
Husain, Shahrukh. (1996). What Do We Know About Islam? New York,
NY: Clarion Books.

Posters/Other Visuals
Colour-wheel poster with captions.
Cards of unusual or new words relating to this and previous lessons.


Refer to the resource book "Beliefs and Cultures. Muslim. An Information and Activity Book." by Richard Tames, pp. 30-31.


(On Flip Chart Paper)
What We are Going To Do Today


#1. Plan an Eid al Fitr Greeting Card
[In this space, draw or attach sample greeting cards]

a) Think [Draw icon]

Colours Design Greeting
[Provide visual examples]

b) Use
Pencil Eraser Newsprint
[Provide visual examples]


#2. Plan an Islamic Star
[In this space, attach or draw samples in outline form only (no colours)]

a) Think [Draw icon]

Centred Straight Lines Colours Design [Provide visual examples]

b) Use
Pencil Ruler Newsprint
[Provide visual examples]



Name: _____________________________________ Date: ___________

1. Briefly describe your choice of activity and your design. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2. My art work is trying to express these feelings or thoughts: ___________________________________________________________
3. I used these elements of design to express my feelings or thoughts: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Note: The elements of design are colour, line, shape, space, texture, and form.

4. The part I liked best about our art lesson was ___________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
5. The most interesting thing I learned was _______________________


Name: _____________________ Date: _________

1. I made (mark one)

__ an Eid al Fitr greeting card __ an Islamic star

2. I liked our art lesson because _________________
3. I learned that ____________________________
4. Next art lesson, I want to work (mark your choices)

__ with a partner. Partner's Name _____________

__ in the same group

__ in a different group

__ by myself



Student's Name: _____________________________________ Date:______________


1. Well done:

2. Suggestion:

Submitted by: A. Grimwood Wilson

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