Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries
The Arts of India, 1556-1658
June 23 - July 1, 2008
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Unit of Study:            Language Arts

Lesson Title:             “My First Muraqqa’ Book of Art and Poetry”

Discipline:                 Art, Language Arts, Social Studies

Grade Level:             Kindergarten

Author:                      Larry Watson

County:                     Washington, DC



Students will create two to four painted drawings of plants and animals in the style common to Mughal India during the 16th and 17th Century.  They will then compose rhyming poems to go with each piece of artwork. The poems will be written on the page opposite the related picture, as was common during the Mughal Period.  The children will then share their books with the class.


To prepare for the lesson the teacher will have selected reference materials to introduce to the class showing the Mughal and Hindu style of depicting stylized plants and animals.  The more realistic styles and styles which show European influences will not be included.  Guided discoveries using these materials will be conducted with both large and small groups.  Characteristics which the children will hopefully include in their artwork will be highlighted.

The children are not expected to have any prior knowledge of the drawing or painting style which they are going to produce.

They would have prior experience with rhyming words and writing poems about their artwork and other subjects or experiences.  


Construction paper, white finger paint paper, pencils, gold gel pens, watercolors, brushes, bowls for water, preferred materials for book binding (stapler, needle/thread, stick/rubber band, etc), glue sticks, scissors, various gift wrapping papers, scissors.

Art reference materials- Prints showing the desired style for depicting plants and animals with adjacent pages showing text or poems.


Muraqqa’, Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library. Others TBD

Standards/Learner Outcomes:

Fine Arts Standards

K1.2 Name art materials used or introduced in lessons.
K2.2 Create three-dimensional constructions using basic tools and art processes, such as paper and foam products, scissors and glue.
K4.1 Discuss the objects in own works of art, using appropriate art vocabulary.
K4.3 Discuss how and why students made a specific work of art and provide reasons why they like it, using appropriate art vocabulary.

Content Standards

Language Arts

K.BR-PC.1. Recognize that print represents spoken language and provides information or entertaining stories.
K.W-I.2. Dictate sentences for a story, poem or friendly letter.
K.BR-PC.2. Hold a book right side up and turn pages in the correct direction and order.
K.BR-PC.4. Identify different parts of a book (e.g., front cover, back cover, title page) and the information they provide.
K.BR-PC.5. Recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.
K.BR-PC.8. Demonstrate the one-to-one correlation between a spoken word and a printed word.
K.BR-PC.9. Identify upper- and lower-case letters.
K.BR-PA.10. Distinguish rhyming words from non-rhyming words spoken aloud.
K.BR-P.18. Know there is a link between letters and sounds and that written words are composed of letters that represent sounds.


K.5 Different types of plants and animals inhabit the Earth.

Social Studies

K.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the concept of location.
K.2 Students describe the way people lived in earlier times and how their lives would be different today.


Fine Arts Objectives

Students will draw, then paint stylized plants, flowers and animals inspired by Mughal artwork.
Students will use a variety of drawing and painting media in creating their artwork.
Students will be able to name all materials used in creating their artwork. 
Students will create a book using techniques similar to those used to create the “muraqqa’” books typical to the Mughal Period.

Content Objectives

Students will compose poems containing rhyming words, describing or related to their paintings.
Students will be able to locate the area ruled by the Mughals on a world map or globe.
Students will be able to name the animals in their paintings.
Students will be able to describe differences between how we live and how the Mughals live.
Students will be able to name the different parts of the books they create (front cover, back cover, pages, paintings, poems).
Students will be able to make the beginning letter sounds of the words used in their poem. 
Students will be able to distinguish upper and lower case letters used in their poem.
Students will be able to distinguish rhyming and non-rhyming words in their poem.


Mughal, India, emperor, gel pen, muraqqa’, animal names, poem, poetry, rhyme, rhyming, outline, watercolor, front cover, back cover, collage, border.


Prints of exemplary Mughal paintings with text will be placed on each of our five tables.  The children will be given magnifying glasses to take turns examining the picture and describing one or two unique features they see.  This rotation will continue until the important features are noted.  

Scope & Sequence

Teacher Directed

While the students are sitting in our Circle, I will draw, outline in gold, then paint a plant/flower and an animal using a Mughal painting as reference.  The students will be asked to name the materials, implements and tools I am using and to suggest appropriate colors for each element in the picture.

Guided Practice

Prior to creating the painting we would have examined the paintings and written a list of “See, Think, Wonder” words and phrases on our chart.  This could be done in our Circle, or could be done with small groups sitting at tables, with an example of the painting on each table.  Each child would have a magnifying glass.  While passing the painting around the table, each child would be expected to volunteer one unique observation.

Independent Practice

The children will select the plant/flower or animal they want to draw.  Each will tell me something about their selection. They will then pick up their finger paint paper, find a seat and draw their picture with a pencil.  If they agree with my question “Is that your best work?” or “Are you happy with your drawing?”, I will give them a gold gel pin to trace over their pencil drawing. If they are not pleased or have not done their best work, I will give them another piece of paper so they create a new drawing.

Once the gold outline is finished they will use water colors to fill in the colors of their outlined drawing.  They should tell me which colors they are going to use for each element of their drawing. When completed the paintings are set aside to dry.

The next day the children will be divided into groups of four.  Groups will have either drawn a plant or any animal.  The four students will work together to create a rhyming poem about their drawing.  Students not working on a poem will be in another learning group with my aide, or they will be in Choice Time.

Upon completion, each poem is printed with individualization (for example those with a horse in their picture will have the word horse included in their poem.  Those with a deer will have a deer, etc).  They will then copy the poem in pencil onto finger paint paper which has had lines drawn on it for writing purposes.  The pencil lines will be traced with a gold gel pen.

Students will then use glue sticks to create borders with cut strips of gift wrapping paper around the outside edge of a piece of paper pre-folded in the middle (which will become the spine of the book).  The painting and poem will be glued into the center section of each half of the page.  Varying degrees of assistance will be needed by the children.

Repeat entire process to create as many pages for the book as desired. 

Upon completion of the book, each child will share their book with the class.

Photos would be taken during each step of the lesson.


Assessment of five year olds for this type of project is often based on the level of student participation (inactive, responsive, pro-active), inclusion of new vocabulary when sharing their project or discussing it with teachers, correlation between instructions given and student output (Simple rubric- Best Effort, Good Effort, Needs Improvement, No Effort).  A simple rubric for remaining on task may include Frequent Prompting, Minimal Prompting, No Prompting.

The completed book would be included in the student’s Portfolio for review during Parent Conferences.   


Upon completion of the activity I would group the books into three groups to reflect my observations relative to the rubrics noted above.  Each student’s position within these groupings would be compared to their general position within the class and learning groups (the class is divided into three academic levels).

Of particular interest would be students that demonstrated a higher level of focus, participation and output relative to their general position within the class.  This would be suggestive that the activity was well received and resulted in a higher level of academic achievement than is typical for those students. 

Also of interest would be the degree to which vocabulary enhancement could be demonstrated.  When discussing the project with individuals or small groups, I would take notes regarding the use of target words, or a demonstration that the new words were understood and could be used in an original sentence, phrase or exchange.  Open and closed ended questions would be used to determine the degree to which the adoption and/or understanding of new vocabulary took place.

A culminating activity would be to create a display in a public area of the school.  For homework students would be asked to dictate their thoughts and impressions of the activity and their book.  These descriptions would be typed, printed and displayed adjacent to each student’s book.  The in-progress photos would be included in the display.

Once displayed, I would take groups of 3-5 students at a time to visit the display and convey their impressions of the books, the display and the dictated descriptions.  When each student has participated in this small group review, we would sit in our Circle and share our impressions, thoughts and ideas about the project.

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Sponsored by
the Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies
and the Maryland State Department of Education