California Visual Arts Glossary Definitions of Shape and Form
• Shape: A two-dimensional area or plane that may be open or closed, free-form or geometric. It
can be found in nature or is made by humans.
• Form. A three-dimensional volume or the illusion of three dimensions (related to shape, which is
two-dimensional); the particular characteristics of the visual elements of a work of art (as
distinguished from its subject matter or).
• Textbook Glossary Definition content
o Shape: A two-dimensional area defined by lines, colors, or values.
o Form: the physical characteristics of an object.
o Textbook description of shape
Shapes created by lines merging, touching, and intersection one another taking
May be square, rectangular, round, elliptical, oval, triangular, or amorphous
May emerge as nonobjective, figurative, or free-form
May be two dimensional – like squares – or may be three-dimensional suggesting
volume (rectangular solids, cubes, cones, pyramids).
Nature is richest source of inspiration for shape/form.
Positive shapes of objects or figures in a composition – trees, houses, people,
animals, furniture, and vehicles.
Empty area around shapes called negative space – may include ground, water,
• Review the elements of shape and form from Getty Art –
o Geometric Shapes and Forms
o Organic Shapes and Forms
Designing the Art Activity
Use the visual arts glossary definition of shape to guide your lesson plan and assessment.
Ask yourself these questions:
• How will I teach the element of shape in this lesson?
• How will I help my students understand what shape means and how they apply shape to this
work of art?
• I will I use my example of “great art” and the work of this artist to demonstrate shape?
• How will I help students make connections between the model of art using line and the famous
artwork demonstrating shape?
• How will I assess whether the students learned the definition of shape?
• How will I be able to see that they understand the concept of shape in their artwork
REMINDER: Do NOT copy/paste your lesson or image from the Internet! Use the lesson plan template
and write your lesson objective and activity steps in your own words. If you find an idea or model online,
please cite your source with the name and URL web address to avoid a copyright violation. Your own art
must be original. Your text must be in your own words. Lesson plans that are not created using the
required sections on the lesson plan template will not be accepted for this assignment.
Your lesson plan should include a famous work of art that demonstrates the element you are
teaching. Insert an example of the work of art for ” shape” as a picture in your lesson plan
document. You can right click on a web image and select “save image as” to your computer – or
copy/paste the image in the lesson plan.
California Arts Standards for Visual Arts – 2019
The art activity template already includes the anchor standards and artistic processes from the 2019
California Visual Arts Anchor Standards. Leave the table in your template and consult as needed.
Optional: If you want to include more specific standards for a specific grade level, use the visual arts
standards document from the California Department of Education website –
Visual Arts and Media Arts: Artistic Processes and Anchor Standards
Artistic Processes Anchor Standards: Students will…
Conceiving and developing new artistic
ideas and work.
1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
3. Refine and complete artistic work.
Presenting (visual arts)
Interpreting and sharing artistic work.
Producing (media arts)
Realizing and presenting artistic ideas and
4. Analyze, interpret, and select artistic work for
5. Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.
6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic
Understanding and evaluating how the
arts convey meaning.
7. Perceive and analyze artistic work.
8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
Relating artistic ideas and work with
personal meaning and external context.
10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal
experiences to make art.
11. Relate artistic ideas and works with societal,
cultural and historical context to deepen
Make your own Original Art
1. Create a personal original work of art demonstrating the use of “shape.” DO NOT COPY/PASTE
from the Internet.
2. Explore the week two study guide, external links, videos, and the course resource website for
ideas on how to create your own work of art that features “shape”.
3. Take a digital photo of your finished artwork. You may need to edit in a photo editor. See
resources. Insert your original art into the lesson plan template.
Locate a Great Work of Art (or a famous artist) who demonstrates the use of “shape.”
1. Locate a great piece of art that demonstrates “shape” and insert the image in your lesson plan
template. Explain how you will use this work of art to teach “shape” to the students in this
lesson. Make connections between your own art which serves as a model for your students and
the famous artwork of the master. Include information about the artist, the work of art, the art
production techniques used, and the historical cultural significance of this great art.
2. See the web resources for great art – https://sites.google.com/site/visualarts4learning/arthistory—great-art-resources
3. Right click or hold mouse button down to save the image you want to use in your lesson plan in
your computer art folder or desktop.
Outline for the Art Activity Plan
• Lesson Activity Overview
• Grade Level
• Visual Anchor Standards (Provided in Template)
• Learning Objectives (Model Provided in Template)
• Art Production Media (Supplies and Materials)
• Resources (Websites, Books, Images, Illustrations, Apps, etc.)
• Introduction: Anticipatory Set (How will you spark interest and introduce students to the
featured element of art?)
• Art Processes: Creating and Presenting
• Art Process: Responding to Essential Questions for Enduring Understanding
• Art Process: Connecting to Art History through Essential Questions
• Reflection on Creative Practice and Artistic Literacy
Complete the Art Activity Template – USE THE TEMPLATE PROVIDED!
1. Have the photo of your artwork ready.
2. Save the graphic image of your great work of art.
3. Write 2 lesson objectives that are measurable and descriptive. Keep the table of art processes
and anchor standard provided in the template. You may use the objectives provided and adapt
for each of the elements lesson [line, shape, color, or space].
4. Fill in the step by step process you will use to have students create their own artwork.
5. List materials, supplies, resources, software, apps, etc.
6. List essential questions that promote understanding of the element of art and make connections
between the use of the that element in the famous work of art and the creative art learning
Suggestions for Critical Thinking Discussion Questions – Essential Questions that Result in Enduring
• Look at the use of shape in this work of art. How did you use shape in your own art? How would
you define shape in your art? What else caught your eye?
1. Students will create and present an original work of art using the element of
_________________ [line, shape, color, or space].
2. Students will respond and connect to a famous artist who demonstrates the use of
___________________ [line, shape, color, or space] in a great work of art.
• Describe how you created the element of shape by providing definitions. Examples for line,
shape, color, and space:
“I created a thin curving line”
“I created a 2-dimensional shape by combining by intersecting lines”
“I used the complementary colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel”
“I created the illusion of space in depth with foreground, middle ground, and
• Help students make connections between the famous artist and artwork example and their own art
project. How does the famous work of this art demonstrate shape? How is it similar or different to
the students’ original art?
Assessment – Describe how you will assess the student’s creative process and art product to determine
if the lesson objectives and the visual arts standards were met. What are the assignment expectations
and what evidence will you use to determine if standards were met? Optional: You may want to use the
criteria in the table below to describe how you will assess each individual student’s art product as well
as their creative process. Complete the 2nd column in the table below.
Criteria for Assessing
Student Art Product and
Describe what you expect to see in the student’s art process and creative
product that provides evidence that the student has met the learning
objective and California visual arts standard?
Use of Shape
Creativity and Originality
Effort and Craftsmanship
Attitude and Engagement
Reflection on Creative Practice: Write a reflection on your own personal creative artistic process.
Answer these questions explaining your own artistic process of creating, presenting, responding, and
connecting original artwork and planning a meaningful art activity for your students teaching the
featured element of art.
Create: Imagine, Plan, Make, Reflect, Refine, Revise, and Investigate
• How did you use your imagination to come up with your idea for how to demonstrate this
element of art?
• What creative ideas did you investigate to determine the best way to teach this element of art?
Present: Analyze, Prepare, and Present
• How did you decide on appropriate art production media and materials to produce and present
your own original art? [If you used a model you found online, please include the URL to avoid
plagiarism.] • How did you apply this element of art and principle of design to construct your final creative
Respond: Interpret, Perceive, Analyze, and Evaluate
• How effective do you feel your work of art is in demonstrating this element of art? Explain why.
• How well does the use of the featured element of art in your original art connect to the artwork
of the famous artist you selected?
Connect: Relate, Synthesize
• In what ways do you think that this art activity helps children develop artistic literacy?
• Briefly assess your own artistic literacy in terms of creating and presenting your original art,
responding and evaluating your work, and connecting your artistic ideas to art history, culture,
and society. (Create, Present, Respond, Connect)
The artistic processes and their related process components provide multiple entries into visual arts (CA
Arts Standards, 2019).
• Creating (imagine, plan, make; reflect, refine, revise; investigate)
• Presenting (analyze, prepare, present)
• Responding (perceive, analyze; evaluate; interpret)
• Connecting (synthesize, relate)
What is literacy in visual arts?
“In the visual arts, developing literacy occurs as a result of engaging in an authentic creative process
through the use of traditional and non-traditional materials and applying the formal elements of art
and principles of design; knowing an arts language to describe art; and discovering the expressive
qualities of art to be able to reflect, critique, and connect personal experience to art.”
“The artist imagines, executes, reflects and refines work before finally completing a piece of work
(creating), shares or displays the work (presenting), reflects on the completed work (responding), and
connects the experience to other contexts of meaning or knowledge (connecting). As a result, aspects
of multiple standards can be combined within a learning activity: students can learn by solving
problems, exhibiting their work, and thinking critically about them, by relating theirs to other ideas,
experiences, contexts, and meanings and refining their future work to a more sophisticated level. The
concepts embedded in the standards reflect the scope of learning – the knowledge, skills, and
understandings – taught through study of the visual arts.”
The Arts as Communication: In today’s multimedia society, the arts are the media, and therefore
provide powerful and essential means of communication. The arts provide unique symbol systems
and metaphors that convey and inform life experience. The arts are ways of knowing.
The Arts as Creative Personal Realization: Participation in each of the arts as creators, performers,
and audience members enables individuals to discover and develop their own creative capacity,
thereby providing a source of lifelong satisfaction.
The Arts as Culture, History, and Connectors Throughout History: The arts have provided essential
means for individuals and communities to express their ideas, experiences, feelings, and deepest
beliefs. Each art form shares common goals but approaches them through distinct media and
techniques. Understanding artwork provides insights into individuals’ own and others’ cultures and
societies, while also providing opportunities to access, to express and to integrate meaning across a
variety of content areas.
Arts as Means to Well-being: Participation in the arts as creators, performers, and audience
members (responders) enhances mental, physical, and emotional well-being
The Arts as Community Engagement: The arts provide means for individuals to collaborate and
connect with others in an enjoyable inclusive environment as they create, prepare, and share
artwork that brings communities together (responding).