Picasso and Cubism

By King, David L. | School Arts, April 1992 | Go to article overview

Picasso and Cubism


King, David L., School Arts


My first experience in introducing Picasso to my elementary students at Graham Elementary School in South Central Los Angeles was with an intersession class of students from grades one through four.

My introductory lesson was on geometric shapes and forms (square, triangle, circle and rectangle) and I introduced vocabulary terms such as perpendicular, parallel, equilateral and parallelogram. Students in the lower grades worked with simple shapes, while the older students ventured into three-dimensional forms such as cubes, prisms, spheres and other imaginative shapes. An assortment of these were illustrated on the board while students recreated them on paper. The assignment was to create a composition using the various shapes, forms and block letters.

After the introductory assignment was completed, a lesson on Cubism was presented and biographical information about Picasso was shared. I explained Picasso's 'Blue Period' and selected three or four students who were wearing predominantly blue colors and asked them to come up to the front and look sad or depressed. I related this pantomime to examples of paintings from Picasso's 'Blue Period'. Next I selected students who were dressed in pinks and reds to come up and strike more joyful poses to simulate Picasso's 'Rose Period'.

This was also followed by showing examples of work from this period.

Before beginning the next assignment, I cut enough squares, triangles, rectangles, circles and other shapes from colored paper and newspapers so that each student would have several of each. With these cutouts, I introduced the final Picasso experience. The students were to arrange the shapes as they desired and add drawing with pencils, felt-tip pens, or crayons to complete their Cubist experience.

When their compositions were complete, the students wrote paragraphs about Picasso and Cubism and then wrote about their own compositions.

The lesson plan for this correlated math, art history, art and writing lesson is as follows.

1. Overall Content Objective

a. Geometry. Students are able to identify basic geometric shapes and forms including squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, parallelograms, cubes, prisms and spheres. …

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