DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

"Expressive Paradise"

Grade 4

Longfellow Elementary, Columbia MD

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Grade 4: Expressive Paradise Unit Plan

Longfellow Elementary School








Students in the forth grade are a variety of different developmental ranges. They are beginning to become much more social, note gender differences, and express their identity. Though the creation of their own personal paradise they are expressing that identity as well as create a piece of art that is planned out, realistic but expressive. At this age they are comparing their work to ideals and their skills do not match their thought process, be combining the realistic with the imaginary and abstract a balance of skill and expression is achieved. Students in this stage are moving away from the concrete toward interpretation and the abstract. In terms of drawing they are becoming more interested in observation and their schema are disappearing, proportions and perspective become more apparent, a visual realism is wanted. Students will be exploring materials, letting them choose which will work best for the idea they are expressing. Through an exploration of mark making students are combining their want for realistic imagery with emotional expression. 



  • Students will explore expressive mark making. They will translate these marks and discoveries into multiple prints, including mono-prints and styrofoam reliefs, of their own paradise. Using abstract marks and forms they will add meaning to their imagined landscape.
  • Students will explore and experiment with new printmaking processes and expressive mark making.


What would your perfect world look like, your own personal paradise? How can you express this utopia through mark making? 



  • How do you express an emotion through abstract mark making?
  • What do you think a happy mark looks like? or a loud mark? or a slow mark?
  • What would your perfect place, your paradise, look like?
  • What kinds of marks can you use to express this place?
  • How does the process of creating a drawing for a print differ from just creating a drawing?
  • How does this printmaking process differ from the last, the mono-print we made last week?
  • What are the differences between the two prints we created today (the additive and subtractive)?
  • Students will be able to identify different marks within works of art
  • Students will understand that mark making can be related to expression of emotion
  • Students will understand that abstract art forms convey meaning about emotion through the marks being used
  • Students will be able to connect realistic imagery with expressive mark making
  • Students will express their own personal emotions and imagined landscapes using mark making through printmaking processes
  • Students imagery will have a narrative element as well as an imagined element
  • Student will understand that discoveries are made through exploration of materials
  • Students will understand the difference between drawing and printmaking
  • Students will understand the difference between additive and subtractive printing methods
  • Students will understand the difference between mono prints and other printing methods, one print versus being able to create multiple prints for one plate
  •  Students will be able to express themselves through abstract marks
  • Students will learn the difference between materials
  • Students will be able to visually translate their ideas and emotions
  • Students will successfully transfer their images from one printing surface to another
  • Students will be able to think abstractly
  • Students will be open to expressing their emotions and inner feelings
  • Students will work cooperatively
  • Standard 1.0 Perceiving and Responding: Aesthetic Education: Students will demonstrate the ability to perceive, interpret, and respond to ideas, experiences, and the environment through visual art.
  • INDICATOR 2. Identify and compare ways in which selected artworks represent what people see, know, feel, and imagine
  • OBJECTIVE b. Create and describe artworks that communicate mood and point of view
  • Standard 2.0 Historical, Cultural, and Social Context: Students will demonstrate an understanding of visual art as an essential aspect of history and human experience.
  • INDICATOR 1. Determine ways in which works of art express ideas about self, other people, places, and events
  • Standard 3.0 Creative Expression and Production: Students will demonstrate the ability to organize knowledge and ideas for expression in the production of art.
  • INDICATOR 1. Create images and forms from observation, memory, and imagination and feelings
  • OBJECTIVES a. Experiment with media, processes, and techniques to express thoughts and feelings that have personal meaning
  • b. Manipulate art media, materials, and tools safely
  • c. Create artworks that explore the uses of the elements of art and selected principles of design, such as pattern, repetition, contrast, balance, and variety, to express personal meaning
CONCEPTS based upon the elements of art and the principles of design:
  • Line - Lines may be used to emphasize a center of interest, can show texture, can be distorted to abstract and simplify forms
  • Color - Color can be used for emphasis in a composition, can express mood and meaning
  • Texture - Texture can be used to create surface variety
  • (emerging intermediate) apply printmaking processes to transfer imagery that incorporates the formal qualities of art
  • use printmaking processes and materials to develop a series of images, which express individual ideas, thoughts, and feelings  
  • demonstrate the ability to analyze and evaluate the characteristics of artworks
  • develop the ability to organize new and prior knowledge and ideas with tools and media for self-expression
INTERMEDIATE LEVEL (grades 4-5) Making Artistic Choices
  • “Emphasis for the learner at this instruction level is on creating meaning, making decisions, and aesthetic judgements. The child becomes an artist able to make choices about materials, processes, and techniques, strengthening their problem solving ability. This young artist continues to expand his/her visual and verbal vocabulary through drawing from memory, using the narrative to tell stories, and observation. In preparation for middle-school, the student develops representational skills, and establishes criteria for self-evaluation.”
  • use a variety of media to reflect personal decisions and experiences
  • follow multi-step process to solve an art problem
  • expressionism: a style of art in which the artist seeks to express emotional experience rather than impressions of the external world.
  • abstract: existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence 
  • exploration: examine or evaluate, inquire into in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with
  • utopia: an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.  
  • paradise: an ideal or idyllic place
  • horizon line, foreground, middle ground, background
  • transfer: convey (a drawing or design) from one surface to another.
  • mono-print: a print made by a process that allows for only one impression to be pulled. Generally, the artist creates an image by drawing or painting it on a surface from which it can be transferred/printed onto a piece of paper
  • additive: characterized or produced by addition of a material
  • subtractive: The act of removing material or media
  • (mark making exploration) drawing materials: chalk pastel, colored pencil, crayon, marker
  • paper, pencils
  • (mono-prints) transparency, water soluble crayons, damp paper
  • (styrofoam prints) styrofoam, markers, pencil, damp paper
  • printing press
  • expressionistic artists/mark making/paradise/landscape presentation (prezi)
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Jackson Pollock
  • Georges Seurat
  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Claude Monet
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Paul Cezanne
DAY 1:
  • show artist examples/visuals of mark making expressionism
  • explore materials, mark making - each table gets different materials and an emotion (HAPPY, ANGRY, SAD, LOUD, SOFT, QUICK, SLOW, FLAT), ask students to express that emotion using the given materials with their marks, rotate to each table. 
  • closure, exit ticket
DAY 2: 
  • show examples of images of paradises/utopias 
  • sketches of their own personal paradise - begin with writing about their paradise after a pre-visualization: senses, what does it smell like, taste like, sound like? what would be in your paradise? what feelings or emotions does it give you? Sketch paradise, brainstorm emotions and marks that could be used
DAY 3:
  • mono-print - using water soluble crayons on transparency paper (use press?)
  • experiments with sample sheet, making expressive marks with material and printing a test
  • draw paradise using expressive mark making
  • transfer image to damp piece of paper (multiple times/papers?)
  • discussion of process and results
DAY 4:
  • styrofoam prints - positive and negative, additive and subtractive printing
  • draw paradise on styrofoam with markers and transfer onto damp paper (additive)
  • trace over marker lines with a pencil, carve into the styrofoam, and color whole plate with markers, transfer to damp paper (subtractive)
  • critique/discussion of different processes/results
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Teaching Resources / Visuals

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.