Follow the Artist

Additional Products

  • Venn Diagram Pocket Chart
  • LCD Projector
  • Computer
  • Internet
  • Rulers
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Poem - The Giraffe by Shel Silverstein
  • Betty Hawley Kelso Prints

Project Details

This lesson is designed to increase student awareness of shape poetry and the use of geometric shapes in the artwork of Betty Hawley Kelso. This knowledge will be used to create a Kelso painting with a geometric poem to accompany the painting.

Lesson Plan Ideas

Developed by: Nancy Schultz, Poetry/Geometry/Art Integration, Webster Elementary School

Learning Objective

For Grade: 1
Students will observe, critique and create a piece of art using the technique of combining and integrating shapes.

Applicable Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories and poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

CCSS.Math.Content.1.G.A.1 Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.

CCSS.Math.Content.1.G.A.2 Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from combining shapes

Additional Goals
-Students can observe and critique famous artists and styles.
-Students can create a piece of art using a specified artistic technique.


  1. Mini Lesson

    Students do the same activity with Shape Poetry. Using the example of The Giraffe (located in “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein), show students the artistic way that some poets write their stories: as the shapes of the item they are describing.

  2. Compare writing about the qualities of a shape to drawing a picture using these shapes together. What is the same? What is different? What skills are needed to do both activities?

  3. Create a list of these skills, write on sentence strips, and insert word strips into appropriate pockets on Venn Diagram Pocket Chart.

  4. Practice

    Divide class into groups. Give each group a copy of a Kelso painting.

  5. Have the groups measure various shapes using rulers to see if each shape is in proportion to the other, and if the measurements are exact.

  6. Discuss their findings as a class. What did this mean from the artistic point of view? From the math point of view?

  7. Work

    Students create a Kelso painting using squares, triangles, circles, and rectangles only, using the conclusions from the group discussion. The shapes must be measured exactly and the final picture must be of an item that they could write about.

  8. Students then write a poem within their geometric painting that describes the qualities or meaning of that shape without naming it.


  9. Closure

    At the end of the lesson, review the CCSS/Goals as a group, and select a few students to share their work. Post art pieces and poems.

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