4th Grade Jacob Lawrence Story-telling Paintings

Self-portrait, Jacob Lawrence, 1977. 

4th grade students learned about the life, artwork, and style of Jacob Lawrence.  Students looked at images of his work, comparing and contrasting his everyday scenes with more famous, historical scenes, such as ones depicting the life of Harriet Tubman.

Students then brainstormed ideas for their own story they wished to tell using images.  Students were asked to include character(s), actions, and a background to help set the story’s time and place.  Otherwise, they had a lot of choices in terms of showing animals, people, outdoors, indoors, close-up, far away, big story, or everyday scene.

Students also reviewed tempera paint mixing and the basic techniques.  Midway through the sketching process/at the beginning of painting, students had to complete an evaluation to ensure they were including the necessary information.

Look at your Jacob Lawrence Story-telling painting:
a. Who are my character(s)?
b. What are my actions?
c. What is in my background?
d. Am I using details to help tell my story? Why or why not?

This evaluation was a nice way to refocus the intent of the assignment and make sure that students were actually telling a story through their painted images.  The variety of subject matter was astounding.  My students’ creativity and dedication to their work never fails to amaze me.  Check out a sampling of the work below.







IMG_0259 (1)






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