Cycle 2 Week 3- Book of Kells

For week three students will be doing an upside-down drawing.  The concept is about training our brains to see the image solely as a group of lines and shapes.  It also relates back to OiLs and the ability to describe and duplicate lines.

It is so, so, SO important to teach students to look at the object in front of them as they draw, and to study the lines that create that object.  People tend to draw the object they see in their mind rather than what they see in front of them.  For example, if asked to draw an apple on a table, many people would look at the apple once, then keep their head down and draw what they think a typical apple would look like.  We want students to constantly look back at the object and draw the nuances of the lines and curves- simply as a series of lines and curves, not an apple.

The lesson below relates to geography for the week.  The Book of Kells is a medieval illuminated manuscript created by monks in Ireland around 800 AD.  It is a great way to connect art to history to geography.

Each lesson below uses an evangelical symbol from the Book of Kells.  Ages 10-11 is the lion (St. Mark), ages 7-9 is the calf (St. Luke), and ages 4-6 is a bird (St. John is represented by an eagle, but because of the need to simplify the image for young students, the image I drew is derived from drawings of birds used throughout the Book of Kells).

Materials needed:


9×12 envelope, or construction paper

Print-outs from lesson plan (Each student will need a paper with the dotted lines across it)

Colored pencils, or markers

Whiteboard or other surface for tutor to draw on

For the warm-up you will show an upside down image and discuss the shapes and lines.  Simply grab a page or two from your kid’s coloring book to use.

For the envelope to “hide” the image, use anything that you can make into a pocket.  Below you can see a 9×12 envelope, two pieces of construction paper taped together, and a hanging file folder.  Anything you want to use is fine!


Below you will find lesson plans for different age groups.  The age group is a suggestion, so use the lesson that you feel is best for your students.

Ages 4-6

Click for the Book of Kells Bird lesson.  In this document you will find two options for the bird image. Because young students may struggle, there is a simplified bird drawing.  If you have a class of  4-year-olds, definitely use the simplified version.  If your class is 6-year-olds, you may want to try the more complicated one.

This resource has many images from the Book of Kells to show students.

Ages 7-9

Click for the Book of Kells Calf lesson.

This resource has many images from the Book of Kells to show students.

Ages 10-11

Click for the Book of Kells Lion lesson.

This resource has many images from the Book of Kells to show students.


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