This year we are teaching FAME VI.


“American Gothic”


Grant Wood


“Hoe Down”

From the Ballet RODEO


Aaron Copland



Students are introduced to uniquely American artists who captured the pulse and the mood of America through their creations.

The elements of art and music that are part of both artistic and musical COMPOSITIONs are reviewed, and students learn basic line or square dancing steps as a part of the lesson.

The American theme is continued in follow-up lessons. The choices include: a cooperative class paper or fabric quilt, additional “hoedown” music dancing or music playing along with simple, homemade instruments.


“The Village BlackSmith”


Currier (1813-1888) & Ives (1824-1895)

“The Anvil Chorus”

From the Opera IL Trovatore


Guiseppe Verdi



Students learn about the historical, social, and artistic contributions of the American lithographers, Currier & Ives. They will review all the elements of art composition, especially LINE, which is fundamental to the work of these two printers.

Students will recreate The Village Blacksmith print scene with the “smithy” keeping musical rhythm with his hammer on the anvil. They will listen for the elements of musical composition and the many PERCUSSION instruments in Verdi’s colorful piece.

The many follow-up activities include: drama, art, music and poetry.


“Maja Clothed”


Francisco Goya


“Anitra’s Dance”



Edvard Grieg



Students learn about the popular artistic ODALISQUE pose and dramatic TEXTURE used in Goya’s famous work, Maja Clothed.

They can use textures scarves to create dramatic movement emphasizing the staccato and legato style which enhances the element of HARMONY in Anitra’s Dance, one of Grieg’s loveliest pieces. They also hear the story of PEER GYNT and how its music reflects the essence of Norway, as did all of Grieg’s music.

The lesson explores the concept of personal treasures and includes a related follow-up art and/or writing activity, or a movement/dance/drama activity using other music from PEER GYNT.




Jackson Pollock


“Maple Leaf Rag”


Scott Joplin



Students are introduced to the idea of the evolution of American art and American Artists, musician/composer Scott Joplin, and Abstract Expressionist visual artist, Jackson Pollock.

They listen for the off-beat SYNCOPATION that creates the irresponsible RHYTHM of Joplin’s ragtime music and learn about the importance of his notation of African-American music.

Jackson Pollock’s unique approach to Abstract Expressionism (creation guided only by feelings) and his use of COLOR beguile students, and the lesson ends with a “cool” review of the material presented using a rhythmic choir.

For follow-up lessons, class paints in the Pollock’s style, preforms literature using a readers theater format with a jazz choir back-up, or write books on what it means to be cool.


“In the Mountains”


Albert Bierstadt




Jean Sibelius



Nature spoke to and inspired the senses of both the artists to help them create their art. That art inspired others as well: Sibelius’ nationalistic music with its theatrical DYNAMICS aroused his countrymen to fight for Finnish independence and Bierstadt’s LIGHT and SHADOW-filled art promoted interest in the beauty of the West, helping to advance the creation of the National Park system.

Lesson highlights include: students will translate smells into musical sounds, an introduction to the orchestral STRING FAMILY, and the finale, the class “experience” popcorn through the pleasurable sense of taste!

Follow-up lesson choices include: responding to music through drawing, writing about the art created, a science experiment on sound, or a drama activity where student actors react to a nature story.


“I and My Village”


Marc Chagall


“Theme from the Polovtsian Dances”


Alexander Borodin



Prompted by the importance of their homeland to these two Russian artists, students share their diverse countries of origin on a world map.

They listen for the musical element of MELODY in Borodin’s work based on a Russian folk tale and were introduced to the WOODWIND section of the orchestra.

Students learn how recognizable Chagall’s paintings are due to his unusual use of the element of COLOR and his repetition of certain images. The other art elements are reviewed by observing “I and My Village” and, due to his diverse artistic work, classes chant: Chagall did it all!

I and My Class art activity allow students to create decorated representations of their bodies and personalities with additional follow-up activities of music and dance being offered as well.