Georgia O’Keeffe Pumpkins and Follow Up

As a first in my blog, I am posting both my lesson plan and my follow up.

With fall upon us I am excited about a whole new set of lessons I can bring to my classroom. I remember one of my favorite lesson in school was one of my first still lifes, which was pumpkins. Among many vegetables and gourds the one important thing to know when drawing these is the imagination that come into play because it’s virtually impossible  to draw a pumpkin with every single detail to its exact likeness. And although I don’t expect my students to grasp to conception, this is something I think they subconsciously know.

LESSON TITLE: Georgia O’Keeffe Pumpkins
TEACHER NAME: Jennifer Schupak
GRADE LEVEL: 4nd – 7th
CLASS TIME: _44_Minutes _1_Days/week _1_# Session(s)
SUBJECTS COVERED – Art, Social Studies, History

Learning Standards:
25.A.2d, 25.B.2, 26.A.2f, 26.B.2d, 27.B.2

Integrated Subjects:
History, Social Studies


  1. Students will hear a short history lesson on Georgia O’Keeffe and learn how to draw a still life in the same style as her work.
  2. Students will understand and demonstrate the importance of O’Keeffe’s travels and her art work, and will complete an evaluation on their work.

Materials Needed:

  • Posters or book with O’Keeffe’s work
  • 11×17 construction paper
  • crayons
  • colored pencils
  • pencils
  • Pumpkins, real or fake (real ones are very heavy and only last for a short time, I recommend picking up some from a craft store after the harvest season is over and they are on sale!)
  • Evaluation Sheet
  • Word find to challenge students who finish early!

Room Setup:

Have the students set up around the pumpkins. You should have at least two or three of various sizes. Add a cloth for some texture on the bottom, an old button down shirt will work. It’s also nice to pile them on top of each other. But remember for the younger students to keep the still life on the simple side, having at least one category of gourd will be better. For high school students it might be more beneficial to add more harvest items to the still life to challenge them more.


Hassrick, Peter H., and Margaret Donovan, eds. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. New York: Harry N. Abrams,, 1997. Print.


Have the room set up according to the plan. For my students I have found that laying out their folders so they know where to sit. I only see my students once a week so they don’t have their own set seats when they come into my room. I had my students sit at tables around the still life. When they walked in I had my pumpkins covered on the table so they weren’t distracted. I own a book called “Let’s meet famous artists” and I read them the short history lesson from that book. I like this book because it touches on subjects important to students in this age. Such as being only 10 years old when she knew she wanted to be an artist. Or who she got her inspiration from. For teachers who are teaching this lesson with more time, I would suggest printing up a one page history lesson to pass out and have each student read a paragraph at a time out loud. I would go over more of her work. I took a book out from the local library with her painting in it. I explained to my students that she would take objects found in nature such as flowers, landscapes and bones and paint them in a way to enlarge them and create an abstraction of what it was.

After the lesson I showed my students pictures from the O’Keeffe book and let them know how large she worked. My students have never worked on paper larger than 9×10 so when I showed them the paper they were now working on they got really excited.

I find it’s always important to build up the lesson as you go along. So I showed them my teacher example of pumpkins I drew myself with crayons the night prior.

I believe that by showing my students. first hand, what I want them to do, that I will get better results. I talked to them briefly about cooler colors being used for depth and shading and then bright colors used for highlights and reflection. I let them all have a nice close look at my work and then I relieved the pumpkins. I had a small one which I placed on top and let them go at it. Since this lesson is more of a stand alone lesson where they can go to work I let them ride. Some students asked for help drawing, and my favorite trick I learned was to draw for them using just the eraser of the pencil on their paper to show them what you want them to do.

I let them look at my drawing and use as many crayons as they wanted. Some of my students used colored pencils, paints can be used here but for me I felt it would be easier for them to experiment with cool and warm colors for shadows and light.

Those who finished early received an evaluation sheet  and then if they were done with that I had word finds which I found off of Armored

I am very happy with how well they were motivated by the word search. Many asked to bring a copy of the word find home. I always encourage word finds because students repeat the spelling of words to themselves and it helps students spell.

I am ver happy with the response I got from my students. You can see their samples here:


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