Lesson ideas


KS1 Ask children to draw five faces. Each face has to communicate a different feeling such as happy, angry, sad, terrified or tired. In pairs, ask if a friend can tell which face expresses which emotion?

KS2 Communicate without using any words. Depending entirely on hand gesture, facial expression and body language, test how effectively they can "speak" without words.


KS 1-2 Make a classroom "context" display with a reproduction of the picture surrounded by images of medieval life. This can include buildings, costumes of the time, calligraphy and stories about knights and chivalry. You could also display a selection of designs by William Morris.

KS3 Experiment with dynamic line drawings.

Study the illustrations of popular children's book illustrator Quentin Blake. Children can try imitating Blake's style by using very economic yet exaggerated lines and shapes to give the impression of speed, activity and emotion.

KS4 Compare the painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood with "Lorenzo and Isabella". While Millais tells his story with an abundance of dramatic body language, Wood uses stiff and rigid figures to tell the story of estranged relationships.

Discuss with your pupils the undercurrent of both obvious and inferred emotions exhibited in both of those paintings.

KS5 Set up some short life sketches with the model holding active body poses for perhaps only five to 10 minutes at a time.

As such poses cannot be held for too long, the students will soon learn to record movement and attitude in swift, expressive line drawings.

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