Discovering personal greatness in pre-school through grade 8 students - Burlington, Vermont

Teacher Talk: Combining Art and Language at Mater Christi School

June 13, 2017

When Mrs. Jennifer Coulter set out to plan a research unit with her third graders, it occurred to her that this would be a perfect unit to teach in interdisciplinary fashion. She approached Ms. Hannah Robertson, Mater Christi School’s art teacher, and together they came up with a plan that would incorporate researching the life of an artist and creating a still life painting in the artist’s style.

SmugMug Pictures

The students were required to use books vs. the internet to find the required information. This included studying the artist’s use of color, brush strokes, and whether the artist expressed his/her topic in an abstract style or realistically. The list of artists from which the students could choose, included Andy Warhol, Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Leonardo DaVinci.

Mrs. Jenny Larkin, an artist and the parent of one of the third graders, generously provided the canvases and much of the acrylic paint that the class used.

The completed paintings were displayed in the school’s library for several weeks, and visitors to the library were high in their praise of the students’ art work.

The two teachers were pleased with the outcome of the unit; the students seemed to enjoy the process, and it was evident that they understood and respected the singular style of each of the seven artists. A very satisfactory way in which to finish the school year.

Sister Joanne LaFreniere, RSM
Director of Public Relations and Spiritual Life