RON CHIRONNA: Illustrator-Teaching Artist

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Sample Lesson Plan

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Teaching Artist Lesson Plan

Teaching Artist: Ronald Chironna


Phone: 718-720-6142

CAE Program: Parents as Arts Partners

School/Borough: PS 69R, Staten Island

Residency Dates: April 12, 19, 26, 2013  and May 3, 10, 2013

Number of Sessions: Five

Discipline: Visual Arts/Literacy

School Coordinator: Linda Sorrentino

Parent Liaison: Margaret Goodman

Grade Level: K-3



Students will understand/know:

-- The meaning of the word emotion.

-- The various emotions that people exhibit.

-- The colors that represent the various emotions.

-- The facial expressions that portray various emotions.

-- How to use a paint brush.

-- How to mix primary colors to create secondary colors.

-- Adding black to a color creates a shade

-- Adding white to a color creates a tint.

-- Artists use paint to create artistic compositions.

-- Artists use paint to depict themselves and other people.

-- The definition of portrait and self-portrait.

-- Artists experiment with compositional elements.

-- Artists explore using various materials, tools, and techniques to paint.

-- Artists make aesthetic decisions.

-- Artists use their imagination.

-- Artists describe what they do verbally and in written form.


Students will be able to:

-- Identify and describe human emotions.

-- Represent those emotions using different paint colors and facial expressions.

-- Control paint media and brushes.

-- Create lines, shapes, and compositions with paint.

-- Mix colors to create new colors.

-- Clean their brushes using paper towels.

-- Add black to a color to make a shade, and white to a color to make a tint.

-- Make skin tones using expressive colors rather than realistic colors.

-- Observe and identify facial characteristics and details.

-- Make observations about works of art and resource books.

-- Discuss and evaluate their own artwork and their classmates’ artwork.

-- Describe their artwork and art process verbally and in written form.


Essential Question(s)

-- What is emotion?

-- What are the various human emotions?

-- What facial expressions do people show to express their emotions?

-- What colors are representative of emotions?

-- How can we use close observation skills to help us create a better work of art?

-- What visual clues and details help identify the person we’re portraying in a painting?

-- How does our choice of color and technique affect the mood, tone, or interpretation of a painting?

-- How do we mix colors?

-- How do we use paint and the tools of painting?


Materials/Equipment Needed

-- Pencils, white paper (9” X 12” or 12” by 18”), paint, paint brushes, paper towels, cups and lids.


Resource Book

-- Just Like Me: Stories and Self-Portraits by Fourteen Artists, edited by Harriet Rohmer, or The Colors of Us by Karen Katz.


Resource Art

-- Various portraits depicting various emotions by the colors used in the painting by various artists.



-- Emotion, expression, paint, paintbrush, primary colors, secondary colors, mix, portrait, selfportrait, skin color, tint, shade, features of the face.



Warm up

-- Hold up a series of cartoon faces depicting various human emotions, and allow each student a turn to identify that emotion. Emphasize that different people may identify the emotions portrayed differently.



-- Define the word emotion (a strong feeling that usually results in physical effects) and ask the students to help compile a list of emotions to add to a word wall.



-- Discuss resource material (book and art). Ask about the differences in the emotions depicted and the colors and facial expressions used to exemplify those emotions.

-- Introduce painting, what painters do, and where students see paintings.

-- Demonstrate the process of choosing a brush, dipping the brush in paint, wiping off excess paint, and applying it to the paper.

-- Model how to hold and move the brush when painting.

-- Discuss primary and secondary colors.

-- Demonstrate mixing primary colors on the paper to create secondary colors.

-- Explain and demonstrate what tints and shades are.

-- Emphasize that mixing will occur on the paper, not in the paint cups.

-- Demonstrate the cleaning of brushes on paper towels between the uses of different colors.

-- Help students define portrait and a self-portrait.

-- Explain that they will be painting a self-portrait using the facial expressions and colors they choose to express a particular emotion.


Art Activity

-- Have adults and some children act as helpers, handing out the pencils (for name writing), paper, paint, paint brushes, and paper towels.

-- Ask the students to begin their self-portrait under-painting by outlining their head and shoulders and filling them in with their chosen skin colors to depict an emotion.

-- As they work, show them how to hold the brush to make more controlled lines or create broader strokes.

-- Prompt them to use different sides of the brush and to change the pressure on the paper.

-- Have students choose descriptive details to add to their self-portraits.

-- Let students know that they can include details that they may not see when they look in a mirror (for example, they might use their imagination to add a hat or a pattern to a shirt).

-- Encourage students to add something to the background that may tell the viewer something about them.

-- Artist/ Instructor and the classroom teachers will work individually with anyone who needs help.

-- If there is time, have students paint a portrait of one of their parents, also expressing an emotion.

-- Observe students’ work-in-progress.

* How are they using their paint brushes?

* Are they able to mix colors?

* Are they using an appropriate color, and depicting an appropriate facial expression to depict the emotion they chose?

-- Question students during independent work.

-- Observe class discussions.

-- Take photos of students at work.

-- Warn students when the end of the work period is approaching (flicker lights, music, etc.).


Group Share/ Documentation/Assessment

-- Have students share their artwork with the class.

-- Conduct a peaceful discussion of the lesson, with students using their paintings to describe the process of how they made their artwork, and how their painting portrays the emotion they depicted.

-- Use accountable talk; backed up by evidence, facts, reasons.

-- Use informal student reflection, and responses to their experimentation with the materials and processes.

-- Compliment their efforts rather than the finished art.

-- Talk about the similarities and differences in the art that was made.

-- Ask students:

* How they created their artwork.

* What choices they made.

* If it was difficult to do.


Research Questions

-- What did we learn today?

-- Would you paint on your own at home or for a school project?

-- Are there any other ways you can think of to show emotions in art?

-- What other subjects would you like to paint?

-- See if you can find examples of paintings, portraits, and self-portraits in your books or in your own daily environment.

-- Considering next week’s lesson, have you used clay before? How?

-- If you have any clay objects at home, can you bring one in next week?



-- Have everyone engage in cleaning up.

-- Take photos of the finished artwork if they are to be taken home.

-- If students are willing, take photos of the students holding their art.

Tel: 718-720-6142
122 Slosson Avenue
2nd Floor
Staten Island, NY 10314

Studio in a School
Sundog Theatre
The Staten Island Children's Museum
The Center for Arts Education 
               Staten Island Arts                 

Copyright Ronald Chironna 1978-2016. The images and content of this web site are copyrighted, with all rights reserved to Ronald Chironna. Copying or distributing the material on this web site without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

For my friends at Studio in a School, the Community Word Project, The Staten Island Teaching Artist Institute, Sundog Theatre, Staten Island Arts, SMB Studio Arts, The Center for Arts Education, Marquis Studios, The Staten Island Children's Museum, and all the schools and institutions in which I've been fortunate enough to work.