• View of the Shimmering Sea from Woods Hole, Massachusetts

    Feodor Zakharov, View of the Shimmering Sea from Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Oil on canvas, 32 x 45 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

  • First Crop

    Thomas Hart Benton, First Crop. Gouache on paper, 21 x 29 3/4 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

  • Summer Storm Over the Jemez Mountains

    Peter Hurd, American (1904-1984), Summer Storm Over the Jemez Mountains, c. 1955. Watercolor, 36″ x 27″.  Collection of the Carlsbad Museum & Art Center, Carlsbad, NM, USA.

Looking at Landscapes

Visual Arts

Grade 1

3: Life Lessons

3 30-minute lessons

fact and opinion

How does location affect what an artist might create? How can we classify pictures?

I can describe characteristics of artwork such as lines, colors, and textures.
I can describe how an artist’s location may affect his/her artwork.
I can classify art into categories such as landscapes, still lives, portraits.
I can give facts about my drawing (related to personal drawing).

Day 1

Direct Instruction

Have samples of various landscapes, portraits and still lifes at the front of the room. As a review, ask students to sort them into any three groups; they may sort by shapes, by colors, or by other characteristics. Then, place one picture in each of the 3 genres and explains 3 different types of artwork (still life, portrait, and landscape).

Guided Instruction

Have students work in small groups and sort the remaining pictures according to the three categories. As they work, circulate and guide as needed.

At the end of the lesson ask students to share by walking around the room to see how others sorted.

Day 2

Display the images First Crop, by Thomas Hart Benton, and View of the Shimmering Sea From Woods Hole, Mass., by Feodor Zakharov.

Discuss the images by asking:

  • What’s going on in this pictures?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can we find?

As students respond, create a chart with pictures (as needed for ELL students) and words.

Discuss with students how where an artist lives may influence what an artist paints or creates. Review setting.

Guided Practice/Application

Remind students of some of the different places they have visited as a class. Show pictures to help trigger their memories or brainstorm a list of favorite places. Then, have students draw a landscape picture of a favorite place (beach, botanical gardens, zoo) they have visited.

Have students write about their landscape picture supplying facts to help the audience understand their favorite place. Remind students that details, descriptive words, and feeling words are important things to include in their writing.

Students will share their work with their tablemates and then put the final product in the hall for others to enjoy.

Differentiation and Modifications:

Beyond Grade Level: Sort pictures and write bullets about their sorting rule.

At Grade Level: Sort six of the nine pictures, with help as needed.

Below Grade Level: Sort six of the pictures with teacher guidance.


4: Student can sort pictures into the three categories and justify their thinking with appropriate art terminology. Student can give clear facts to help the audience understand their favorite place.
3: Student can sort two of the categories successfully. Student’s drawing/writing show some facts to help the audience understand their favorite place.
2: Student can sort for one category and/or create a writing pieces with minimal facts about his/her writing.
1: Student has difficulty sorting with one category and/or student has difficulty writing facts about his/her writing.

Materials Needed

at least 10 examples of artwork for sorting, including landscapes, still life, and portraits; writing/drawing paper and utensils


still life, landscape, portraits, texture, location

Artwork in this Lesson

  • Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
    • Thomas Hart Benton | First Crop
  • Carlsbad Museum and Art Center