Artist Spotlight: Frida Kahlo
In Artist Spotlight: Frida Kahlo, first and second graders will learn about Frida Kahlo and her legacy as an activist and artist. First, children will listen to a story and practice identifying the main topic and details. Next, students will be asked to think deeply about what it means to be an artist and share some of the types of art they like to create. Finally, this lesson plan that merges fine arts with reading and writing will invite children to use a variety of creative materials to express themselves through their own artwork.
- Students will be able to recall information from experiences to answer a question.
- Students will be able to identify the main idea and details after listening to a story read aloud.
- Gather the students together in a comfortable space.
- Explain to the students that today, they will learn about a famous artist named Frida Kahlo.
- Browse through some examples of Frida Kahlo's artwork using online sources.
- Instruct students to turn and talk to a partner, explaining what it means to be an artist.
- Allow a few students to share their ideas aloud. Explain to the students that everyone can be an artist and what's so special about creating art is that it allows us to express ourselves in our very own, unique ways.
- Provide some background about Frida Kahlo, elaborating that she was an artist who turned the struggles of her life into art. Although some people called her a surrealist artist, she disagreed because she said her paintings reflect her life. Elaborate that when art is surreal, it is mixed with something that happened in real life and fantasy.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(15 minutes)
- Get out the book Frida and show students the cover of the book.
- Explain to the students that the cover shows a picture of a young Frida Kahlo.
- Read the book aloud to students, pausing to ask prompting questions as you read. Question ideas include:
- What challenges did Frida Kahlo face in her childhood?
- What do you think, "Drawing saves her from being sad," means?
- How does Frida's father influence her art? Use evidence from the text to explain your answer.
- Why is Frida bored at school?
- How did Frida's art save her after the bus accident?
- What did you find interesting about the text?
- What questions do you still have about Frida?
Guided Practice(20 minutes)
- Pass out the Main Idea and Details worksheet to students and display or project your copy on the whiteboard.
- Complete the worksheet together as a whole group, guiding students to share their ideas as you go along.
- The main idea for the story might include (but is not limited to): Frida Kahlo used art to express herself, her pain, and her beliefs during the most difficult times in her life.
Independent working time(20 minutes)
- Pass out the We Are All Artists worksheet to students, as well as coloring and creative materials.
- Read through the directions on the worksheet and allow students to complete the worksheet independently.
- Rotate around the classroom and guide students as needed.
- Provide students with multiple books about Frida Kahlo and her life. Encourage students to compare/contrast their findings.
- Have students create a display to feature important female artists during Women's History Month. Encourage them to research the artists and show what they learned through art, writing, and other mediums. Possible artists could include Georgia O'Keeffe, Yayoi Kusama, and Faith Ringgold.
- Allow students to work in partnerships during guided instruction and independent work.
- Have students sit near the front of the classroom during the read-aloud.
- Define tricky academic vocabulary for students prior to reading.
- Provide students with a short introduction about Frida Kahlo and her life prior to the lesson.
- Teach a lesson about finding the main idea and important details prior to this lesson.
- Collect the worksheets and use them to assess student ability to recall information from an experience to answer a question.
Review and closing(10 minutes)
- Have students place their completed artwork on their desks.
- Conduct a gallery walk where students walk around the room and look at the artwork their classmates completed.
- Bring the students back together and write the following paragraph by the author of Frida, Jonah Winter, on the whiteboard.
- "She turns her pain into something beautiful. It is like a miracle."
- Read through the paragraph a couple times, and discuss what students think it means and how it relates to what they learned about Frida Kahlo.
- Connect this to students' creations from today and explain to them that one way to share our pain, or challenging things that have happened to us, is through art.
- Write "Parking Lot" on a large piece of paper or whiteboard. This is where you will record questions students still have about Frida Kahlo.
- Ask students to share questions they still have about Frida and record them in the parking lot on the paper or whiteboard. Challenge the students to search for the answers using books, online sources, and museums.