Lesson plan “Art” from Germany


This is a lesson plan for a Year 5 (10 years old) Art class.

Topic:                                                                                                   Between dream and reality – music as a gateway to art

Duration:                                                                       45 minutes

Teacher:                                                                         Vera Jungeblodt

Works this lesson is based on:        “Die Toteninsel” by Arnold Böcklin (painting) (~ Island of the Dead)

                                                           “Die Toteninsel” by Max Reger (musical composition inspired by the painting)

The goal of this lesson is to learn about the relation between art and music and about the reflexion of the effect of colours. It is a production-oriented task.


You need a good impression of the painting (in colour) and a musical version of the composition. A basic digital equipment and good quality photocopies are necessary.


The pupils listen to an extract of the composition in a darkened room. The effect of the darkness is chosen to stimulate the pupils and to introduce them to the topic of the lesson.

Work phase I:

The pupils start to talk about the effect the music has had on them. They interpret the effects with adjectives, which are written down on the board. This way it is visual for all the pupils during the practical phase. The group discusses the music one more time to sum up the most important effects it has had on them. As one can see, it’s a rather dark topic. The adjectives to be expected are, for example, dark, scary, dangerous (etc.).

The teacher gives the pupils the information that the music was composed on the basis of a painting and asks them for the second working phase to draw the outline of an “island of death”. How does its form look like? And afterwards: Which colours and motifs do you connect with this island and with these sounds.

Work Phase II:

In this phase the group focuses on the motifs and colours they have chosen to present their ideas of the island. After outlining it, they use oil pastels to create their personal version of this dark and scary island.


The pupils present their drawings and discuss the different perspectives and ideas. Due to the topic, the outcome probably consists of rather dark colours and motifs.

The next lesson:

The teacher presents the group the painting by Arnold Böcklin to compare their works with his and to see similarities and differences.

You can find versions of the painting via google: https://www.google.com/search?q=arnold+b%C3%B6cklin+die+toteninsel&client=firefox-b-d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwir8dLVsqfjAhVFK1AKHRwkBUEQ_AUIECgB

You can find the musical composition online as well (e.g. on Spotify).

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