November 15, of this year marked Georgia O’keeffe’s 125th birthday. She was born Nov.15, 1887 in Wisconsin, and died in 1986 in New Mexico. The desert environment where she lived inspired many of her colorful paintings. Note: The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum will present “Georgia O’Keeffe and The Faraway: Nature and Image,” This exhibit will run from May 11, 2012 – May 5, 2013. For further Information…
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post With Answer Key.
“Very few major American artists have ever been as productive, for so long, in so many mediums, as Georgia O’Keeffe was during her extraordinary career… Here, on what would have been her 125th birthday (she was born Nov. 15, 1887, in Wisconsin and died in 1986, at 98, in New Mexico),
LIFE.com looks at a single photograph — John Loengard’s astonishing 1967 portrait of the artist as an old woman — that somehow manages to suggest, in one frame, Georgia O’Keeffe’s willful isolation… Loengard’s striking, unforgettable picture — made on the roof of O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch home in northern New Mexico — is far more than just a study, or a sketch, of a formidable figure.
Framed against the sky and desert, seated before a chimney that feels, in its simplicity, almost totemic…as much a part of the severe Western landscape as the rocks, sand and sagebrush that surrounded her. She might have been sitting there for an hour, or for a thousand years…
The Whitney’s colorful show puts aside the Georgia O’Keeffe we know best — the Gray Lady of New Mexico — to retrieve an O’Keeffe we ought to know better…
Her taut vertical thunderbolts and giant crests of rainbow colors are like campaign banners being unfurled by an artist who has set herself — and the art of painting — entirely free.” Read more…
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post
Level: Intermediate -Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.
Objective: Students will read the article with a focus on reading comprehension and new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through discussions, and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Tasks
Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Ask students to read the title of the post, and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them examine the photos. Based on these sources, ask students to create a list of words and ideas that they think might be related to this article. Have students use the pre-reading organizer by Scholastic to assist them in finding the main ideas from the reading.
II. While Reading Tasks
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance. Have the students write sentences using each word.
- Very few major American artists have ever been as productive, for so long, in so many mediums, as Georgia O’Keeffe…
- O’Keeffe’s life seemingly encompassed not mere decades, but ages…
- So much of her work… is so distinctive…
- …a single photograph- John Loengard’s astonishing 1967 portrait…
- Georgia O’Keeffe’s willful isolation…
- Loengard’s striking, unforgettable picture… is far more than just a study, or a sketch, of a formidable figure.
- Framed against the sky and desert…that feels, in its simplicity, almost totemic…
- LIFE devoted more than a dozen pages to the artist…
- Whether emphatically realistic or starkly abstract… these works distill… something of her strong, adventurous spirit.
- Freedom — from cliché… from the expected and the tame — has always been the aim…of the greatest artists.
- Reading Comprehension
True / False
Directions: The following statements were taken from the article. If a statement is true, students write (T) if a statement is false they write (F) and provide the correct answer from the article.
- O’Keeffe had drawings as early as 1916.
- In the 1920s many of her later works were inspired by the natural beauty of Mexico.
- Georgia O’Keeffe was born during the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee (1887).
- O’Keeffe relied on others to guide her visions of art.
- This year marks her 125th birthday.
- She was born in Washington.
- John Lennon photographed her in 1967.
- The photo was taken on the veranda of her home in New Mexico.
- In a March 1968 cover story, this photo was on the cover of Life.
- The Whitney’s colorful show puts aside the Georgia O’Keeffe we know best — the Gray Lady of New Mexico.
• Grammar Focus
Identifying Parts of Speech
Directions: In groups, students aretoidentify the adjectives in the following paragraphs. Then they are to use these terms along with words from other parts of speech to create their own paragraphs about art. After, have each group share their stories with the class.
“Loengard’s striking, unforgettable picture — made on the roof of O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch home in northern New Mexico — is far more than just a study, or a sketch, of a formidable figure. Framed against the sky and desert, seated before a chimney that feels, in its simplicity, almosttotemic… O’Keeffe seems carved into the photograph, as much a part of the severe Western landscape as the rocks, sand and sagebrush that surrounded her. She might have been sitting there for an hour, or for a thousand years…”
III. Post Reading Tasks
• Reading Comprehension Check
Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea
Directions: Have students use this colorful graphic organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with discussing or writing about the main points from the article.
- Discussion /Writing Tasks
Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can choose to write an essay on one of the topics.
- Why is there such a contrast between the photo of O’keeffe, and her colorful paintings?
- With your group members, discuss what you think is going on in the photograph of O’keeffe.
- For example, what do you think O’keeffe was thinking about? How long had she been sitting there?
- Why do you think she was given the title “Gray Lady”
- With your members draw a picture of a flower similar to that of O’keeffe’s paintings. Have a contest to see which group’s picture came the closest to O’keeffe’s.
IV. Listening Activity
Video: Georgia O’keeffe A Life In Art
“The American painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) developed a distinctive art form that includes startling details of plant forms, bleached bones, and landscapes of the New Mexico desert—all created with natural clarity.” Read more…
Listening for New Vocabulary or New Terms
Directions: Here is a list of words from the video. Have students find the meanings before they listen to the video. As they listen to the video, have students check off the new words that they hear.
indelibly, transformed, torrent, adobe, modernism, dimension, abstract.
- While Listening Tasks
True /False statements
Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video. As students listen to the video if a statement is true they mark it T if the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
Note to teachers: This is a 15 minute video. The questions cover only the first 10 minutes.
According to the narrator:
- This is O’keefe country. The Land the painter Gorgia O’keefe made indelibly her own.
- Southern New Mexico transformed the artists’s work and changed her life.
- That first summer in New Mexico resulted in a torrent of new paintings, that continued unabated for decades.
- In 1924 O’keeffe discovered the spectacular beauty of an areas known as Ghost Ranch, North of Santa Fe.
- For more than 50 years she spent every summer and fall in this adobe house she owned.
- New Mexico didn’t provide O’keefee the privacy and solitude that were essential to her.
- In O’keedff’s native Wisconsin where she first made art, nature was her subject.
- When she first started painting in New York, O’keeffe could imitate the work of other artists, but she wanted to paint in her own way.
- In 1915 O’keefe began a series of abstract experimental paintings.
- She never had doubts about her new -style of painting.
- In July 1918 O’keefe went to paint in New York.
- Between 1918 and 1923 O’keefee created some of the most original and significant abstractions of American modernism.
- Her large-scale flowers added a new dimension to the tradition of flower painting.
- Whatever O’keefe painted It was her fusion of the abstract and real that gave solidity and strength to her painting.
• Post-Listening Tasks
Questions for Discussion
Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.
1. After listening to this video has your personal opinion of Georgia O’keeffe changed in any way? If yes, describe in what way. If no, describe your original opinion of her.
2. With your group members, make up a list of questions that you would like to ask O’keeffe.
Georgia O’keeffe Museum Celebrate 15th Anniversary “The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is delighted to present “Georgia O’Keeffe and The Faraway: Nature and Image,” This exhibit will run from May 11, 2012 – May 5, 2013. For further Information…
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