HS Arts Analysis Lesson Plan

By |2018-10-30T08:44:58-07:00June 7th, 2013|

Overview: This lesson focuses on the elements of visual art through the masterworks of Degas and developing analysis skills in writing.

Today, we’re providing you with another Common Core-aligned arts integration lesson plan.  Today’s lesson plan is for grades 9-12. It incorporates writing and art seamlessly by way of analysis, artistic statements and blogging. Truly a lesson designed for the 21st century student.  Best of all, it doesn’t require much in the way of resources.  So if you’re looking for a way to engage your high school students in critical thinking and analysis, this is the lesson for you.



Review the elements of line, spacing, shading and use of light in a variety of different pieces of artwork. Use the thinking strategy of “Color, Shapes, Lines” by having students answer and describe these questions: What colors do you see? What kind of shapes do you see? What kind of lines do you see?


Share out and chart the list of descriptions from the pre-assessment. Circle words/phrases that overlap for bigger themes and ideas.


Step 1: Study the variety of artistic sketchbooks of Edgar Degas. Analyze his use of line, subject and light in his work using the “Color, Shapes, Lines” thinking strategy from pre-assessment.

Step 2: Have students choose an object or a theme and pick two words from each category (color, shape, and line) to focus on. Incorporate this information into an original work in the style of Edgar Degas using student sketchbooks and either a charcoal medium or pencil sketches.


Each student will complete an artist statement to describe their work. These statements should address the following questions:

1. Why did you create this work?

2. What does this work signify?

3. How did you create this piece/solution?

4. What is the work made of (if applicable)?

5. What does this work mean to you?







  1. Cindy June 7, 2013 at 8:42 am - Reply

    I am actively seeking art and design lesson and unit ideas that incorporate the common core for my pre-service teachers. While I appreciate this site working to provide such examples, I wonder at the focus of this example on the formal elements and principles of art and design (the main focus of much common core and arts links found on line or in print) and the absence of other content, particularly given the social/political history of Degas (his personal views of Jews as one example) and the social/cultural/political time that he was working. It would be so wonderful to see examples of the arts and common core that work with more diversity across artists and conceptions of art and design education that include more than formal elements.

    • susanedcloset June 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Totally agree, Cindy! Please consider this seed just a starting point – I think it’s important that we do include ways which connect the formal elements of both areas (this example also focused heavily on the formal process of analysis in writing) but remember that this is just the beginning. The beauty of the Core is that we have the ability to go deeper with each standard. So while you could begin with these elements as the first seed, students can then go deeper into exploring the cultural and societal implications of an artist’s work and personal beliefs within these same standards. This lesson, for example, could easily be extended in both “analysis” and in creating a piece of art that communicates a personal belief or message. Thanks for prompting our thinking to go deeper, Cindy!

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