One Point Perspective Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Use a lesson on one point perspective as a way to better understand Van Gogh's painting Bedroom in Arles. You'll then have students compare the painting with a poem by Jane Flanders to approach the tricky RL.9-10.7 CCSS standard.

Lesson Overview

This lesson begins by introducing an art technique, one point perspective to students. The idea is to give them some of the vocabulary needed to discuss a painting. They will learn to determine the horizon line and vanishing point of a piece of art. Next they'll use a brain-based writing/discussion technique to interpret both a painting and a poem. Finally they will compare the poem and painting to practice the skills needed to master RL.9-10.7.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain one point perspective
  • Identify key details in a painting that uses one point perspective
  • Compare the ideas presented in a painting to those presented in a poem

Length

Approximately 60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7 Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden's 'Musée des Beaux Arts' and Breughel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).

Key Vocabulary

  • one point perspective
  • vanishing point
  • horizon line

Materials Needed

Instructions

Begin by directing students towards the Study.com lesson on One Point Perspective Drawing. Write the following text codes on the board:

  • underline = information I feel is important
  • ? = information that is unclear to me
  • ! = information I already knew

Play the video. Have students read along and use the text code.

When the video has finished, have them meet with elbow partners (pairs). They should first explain what they already knew from the video. Then they should share the parts they coded with the question mark. If they can answer each other's questions, they should do so. Finally, have them choose a single bit of important information to share with the class.

Move to a whole class discussion of the video, calling on pairs to share their important facts and questions that remain.

Next, project the Van Gogh painting Bedroom in Arles. The best location to project this would be on a smart board or a white board. Ask for volunteers to come to the board to attempt to identify the horizon line and vanishing point of the painting. Explain to the class that in finding the vanishing point or horizon line in a painting, they're engaging with it in a critical way that will help them to interpret it.

Now it's time to have students walk through an analysis of the painting. The technique that will be used is a brain-based approach that begins with emotion and ends with critical analysis. While the first few steps may not seem useful, think of it as an attempt to ''rev up'' the brains of your students. Trying to uncover meaning in a painting is sophisticated thinking that the brain is not ready to tackle until after it handles some easier tasks. This discussion/writing technique will walk students through those early gears and rev up their brains to be ready to tackle the tougher analytic tasks.

For the painting, walk through the following steps with your students, asking them to first talk to their partners then call upon them to share with the entire class. You should share as well, to model the type of thinking you'd like to see from your students.

  • Step one: Emotion. What do you feel when you look at this painting?
  • Step two: Connection. What does this painting remind you of? Have you seen anything similar before? Does it make you think of a TV show, a movie, another painting, a memory, a trip to a museum, or anything in your past?
  • Step Three: Detail. Choose one small section from the painting. Describe it to your partner in as much detail as possible. Your partner should choose a different section to describe to you.
  • Step Four: Connecting the Details. What did those two small sections have in common? (When you get to this part of the discussion, try to make connections or write notes on the board to represent the variety of ideas that your class will generate.)
  • Step Five: Meaning. What do you get from this painting? You're not trying to find THE meaning, just think about what you take away from the painting. What does it say to you?

At this point in the class your students have just analyzed a famous work of art! They may not have the most profound interpretations, but they have successfully used a technique to come to meaning that could be argued and supported with evidence. Now's the time to introduce them to the poem. Hand out copies and have students read it first to themselves, then invite at least two volunteers to read the poem aloud. You could also have each student read the poem to their discussion partners. You should also read the poem, to model that skill for the class. Following the reading, students will use a version of the above technique to interpret the poem. This should be done by having students write, individually and quietly.

  • Step one: Emotion. What feeling do you get from this poem?
  • Step two: Connection. What does this poem remind you of? Have you seen read anything like this before? Does it make you think of a TV show, a movie, another poem, a memory, a book you've read, or anything in your past?
  • Step Three: Detail. Choose one small moment from the poem. Describe it in writing in as much detail as possible. Imagine the scene in your mind and add detail to fill out what you picture in your head.
  • Step Four: Now, choose another small moment from the poem. Describe that moment in detail.
  • Step Five: Connecting the Details. What did those two small sections have in common? Write about the connections you find between the two moments you chose.
  • Step Six: Meaning. What do you get from this poem? You're not trying to find THE meaning, just think about what you take away from the poem. What does it say to you?

Collect ideas from the class on the board, focusing on steps five and six.

Finish the lesson with a formative assessment. Give each student an index card. They'll use the space on one side to create a Venn diagram. In the left circle they'll include details and ideas from the painting that only appear in the painting. On the right they'll note ideas and details that only appear in the poem. In the center they'll show what the two have in common. Use these index cards to assess student understanding of your lesson.

Lesson Extensions

  • Use different pieces of visual art and literature with the same technique, starting with identifying the horizon line and vanishing point to orient the student to the art, then progressing through the writing and discussion.
  • Write an analytical essay using the Venn diagram as an outline
  • Have students interpret the painting and poem, in either written form or as a presentation, and ask them to use the details they noted as evidence to support their interpretation.
  • Use this as a starting place to teach perspective. Now that students are experienced with looking at perspective in the visual arts, they can better understand point of view in literature. Here are four related Study.com lessons on point of view.
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