Hoosier Artists Instructional Unit
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Artists Instructional Unit
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Jill Fairhurst Taylor and Diana Helton Rennels
Unit Description: "The Hoosier Group" . . . Integrating Art
Across the Curriculum
Keywords: Indiana; artists; Cecil Head; William Forsyth;
T.C. Steele; Gene Stratton Porter; Paul Dresser; Robert Frost;
landscape; farm; rural; Impressionists; Herron
Curriculum Area: Thematic or cross disciplinary/subject
matter; Language Arts; Social Studies; Science; Math; Fine Arts;
Grade Level(s): Elementary or secondary
Appropriate Group Size(s): Whole Class
Time Expected to Complete Instructional Plan: Two weeks
- be introduced to the paintings of T.C. Steele, Cecil Head
and William Forsyth leading to a discussion of what is a painting
- use writing skills tying together the artists' paintings
- use landscapes for social studies curriculum of Native Americans
- learn about Indiana literature and legends
- use map skills
- reflect on the Indiana artists' paintings in the early 1900's
- study Indiana history
- research the artists and Indiana history
- apply scientific knowledge with seeds
- learn about rock formations and types of rocks in Indiana
- research and study animals of Indiana
- find information about an archaeological dig
- write story problems with regard to their research
- use graphing skills
- measure and calculate using a map
- participate and use various technology
- study the music and musicians of Indiana
- enjoy field experiences
Indiana State Standards:
Materials & Resources:
- Images for Hoosier Artists:
- Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken" and "Stopping by Woods
on a Snowy Evening"
- Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg
- Gene Stratton Porter's Girl of the Limberlost.
- Poems and stories by James Whitcomb Riley
- Print representing at least one of the artists featured in
First the teacher will need to acquire background information
on the featured artists to be able to introduce this unit of study.
Also, the structure of the I.S.T.E.P. writing sample needs to
be reviewed to model good writing practices with the students.
Quite simply, a teacher's enthusiasm for the potential art has
to enrich existing curriculum is key to the success of this unit.
Introduce the artists through the web sites and digitalized pictures.
Discuss the art medium and use of color. Discuss the "Hoosier
Group" of artists in Indiana.
Strategies and Activities:
- Prepare and direct student writing using Process Writing
Skills. Refer to Language Arts Standards.
- Show Cecil Head's, William Forsyth's, and T.C. Steele's
landscape paintings to discuss roads and paths. Read and
discuss with students the poem by Robert Frost, "The Road
Not Taken." Discuss with students the "road" Frost is referring
to in poem. Instruct students to write about their own paths
- Show Cecil Head's Farm Winter Scene and tie in
with Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."
Ask students to look at painting and discuss what they see
in painting. Ask students how the painting compares with
Indiana winters in their own neighborhood. Read to students
Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Discuss
with students the "promises" Frost refers to in the poem.
Continue the discussion of "promises" with promises students
make to themselves, their parents, friends, and teachers.
Challenge students to write about the value of keeping promises
made to others.
- Show Cecil Head painting, Two Farmers Planting.
Ask students what the farmers might be planting. Correlate
this planting with Johnny Appleseed; discuss his legacy
and significance in Indiana. Have students generate questions
about farming and interview local farmers in Indiana. Students
then compile interviews in a class book and take a field
trip to a local farm.
- William Forsyth's landscape paintings would correlate
with Native American legends. Ask students to write a Native
American legend explaining why leaves turn color in the
- Read and discuss Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg
- Read and discuss Indiana author, Gene Stratton Porter's
Girl of the Limberlost. Discuss with students how
does the story relates to Indiana and the Indiana artist's
view of Indiana?
- Read and discuss Native American legends - specifically
Miami and Delaware tribes of Indiana
- Encourage students to read some poems and stories by
James Whitcomb Riley. Ask students to compare the description
of Indiana by Riley with the paintings by the Hoosier artists.
- Using maps skills, challenge students to locate the birthplaces
of William Forsyth, Cecil Head, T.C. Steele, and Gene Stratton
- Ask students to discuss how the works of these Indiana artists
reflect Indiana during the early 1900's. . . farms, fields,
rural landscapes, etc. Have students compare with Indiana communities
- Use computer software such as Timeliner CD to make a time
line on Indiana history. Have students find important dates
in Indiana history including birth dates of the artists.
- Have students research what other events were happening in
Indiana and the nation during the time the Hoosier artists were
painting. Plan a field trip to the Indiana Historical Society.
- Discuss with students Indiana landscape (earth science) -
southern Indiana quarries and hills of Brown County. In this
discussion, tie in the glacier movement, sedimentary, igneous,
and metamorphic rocks. How did the geography of Indiana inspire
these artists? Include discussion of Washington D.C.'s monuments
made of Indiana limestone.
- Cecil Head's Farm Winter Scene includes a dog, which
would lead into a discussion of what animals are native to Indiana.
Compare animals wild in the 1900's with animals in the wild
today. Have students research if there are any species endangered
or extinct now and find out why. Students also should tie in
hunting as a food source (see hunter in painting). Ask students
what animals were hunted such as a turkey and then discuss Thanksgiving.
Discuss overpopulation of some animals such as deer and the
efforts being made to control them.
- Plan an archaeological dig. Ask parents to help could bury
items typical of early 1900's for students to discover in an
archaeological dig. Challenge students to try to piece together
a picture of life in Indiana based on the archaeological fine.
Have students make a chart of items found and how it was used
in pioneer life. A field trip to Connor's Prairie would fit
with this activity.
- Encourage students to use their Indiana research to draw
a picture for a story problem. Challenge students to create
a math problem that fits with their picture or use one of the
- Have students use the Internet to check the Chicago Board
of Trade for corn prices. Graph the corn prices to correlate
- Use the scale on an Indiana map to measure and calculate
mileage from the student's own community to birthplaces of the
- Scan student art and project activities to write on a CD
for a showcase portfolio.
- Plan videoconferencing with Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eiteljorg
Museum, or Indiana State Museum
- Web Sites listed in previous section
- Research using the Internet
- Have students take a digital picture of Indiana landscape
- Take students outside to draw a landscape or plan a field
trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and draw landscape in
- Have students draw a four season mural on the landscapes
- Have students draw a quilt piece of Indiana landscape and
put together an Indiana landscape quilt.
- Have students study Impressionist artists and their relationship
to the "Hoosier Group" artists
- Paul Dresser's "On the Banks of the Wabash"
- Writing activities will be graded holistically using a rubric
- Comprehension will be evaluated by the body of research accumulated
and through discussion
- Appreciation and enthusiasm for art and its role in the world
will be informally evaluated using anecdotal records.
Extensions and Field Experiences:
- T.C. Steele study
- Impressionist study of Monet, Renoir, Degas
- Study of Grant Wood as a regionalist artist
- Virtual tour of N.A. Noel studios (Central Indiana artist)
Compare with Hoosier Artists.
- Discussion of Van Gogh and the yellow dominance in his pictures
as in William Forsyth's Impressionist landscape
- Visit T.C. Steele's House of the Whispering Winds in Brown
- Visit a farm
- Visit Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art; Indiana
State Museum; Conner Prairie
- Invite parents into the classroom to help with the archaeological
- Ask parents to assist students in interviewing local farmers.
- Encourage parents to take students to the Franklin Public
Library to see the original works of Cecil Head and William
It is important to stress that every child will have different
levels of artistic ability, but that all artistic attempts are
celebrated for their individuality and effort.