9th Grade

Visual Arts Lesson Plans

Creative Critical Thinking Through Line Drawings

Title : Creative Critical Thinking Through Line Drawings

Author : Albert Justiniano, Brooklyn School for Career Development, NYC

Subject Area/ Grade: Art/ 9th Grade

Students will learn to create drawings from three creative sources: direct observation, the  mind’s eye and the intuitive subconscious and a combination thereof. The students will create  line drawings that will help to unleash their creative thought processes through divergent  thinking and improvisation.


Through this lesson, students will learn to create drawings from three creative sources: direct observation, the mind’s eye and the intuitive subconscious and a combination thereof. Students will be tapping into their imagination, intuition, and power of observation by exploring various ways of seeing, both perpetually and conceptually, and modifying their ideas as they deem. The students will create line drawings that will help to unleash their creativity thought processes, through divergent thinking and improvisation. This lesson is designed to promote creative critical thinking.

Content Area and Standards

Studio Art

Visual Arts Benchmarks

Art Making: Through close observation and sustained investigation, students develop individual and global perspectives on art; utilize the elements and principles of art; solve design problems; and explore perspective, scale and point-of-view.

Making Connections: As students’ knowledge of the world grows from their family  and community life to encompass global societies, students develop their understanding of art within social, cultural, and historical contexts. Students learn the significance of the Visual Arts and its link to other curriculum areas. They come to understand how art may be used to help them observe and interpret their ever-expanding world.


Line is one of the seven elements of art. It is the most basic visual element that can be used to define shapes and figures, but also to indicate motion, emotion, and other elements.

Students are asked to first explore their environment and surroundings, to find lines. 

4 Questions to evoke critical thinking and conversation among students, before doing the activity.

Students are asked to think about the questions and not give an answer until they are done exploring their environment for evidence of lines. 

A 2 minute space is given during this observation period.

“LINE”, Where is it? What does it do? What does it look like? How does it act?

There will be 4 activities that will explore the 4  questions. 
Each day there will be one activity that explores one of the 4 questions.

Day 1: Line, Where is it and where can it be seen? (Actual or Implied)
Students will be asked to create a list of things, in their environment or surroundings, that has the element of art “Line.”  Students will describe  where the line is noticed and how it is applied/or used, on the, observed, object or thing.
Open discussion, with constraints, to the question at hand and their findings is required.

Drawing exercise #1: processing your thoughts through drawing; drawing different types of lines that you know, to you. (actual/implied)

Day 2: Line, What does it do?
Students will begin to explore what lines do, through observation, and have conversations on their discoveries.  Students will observe different objects in the classroom or on-line for this activity.

Gregory Hines video, Why – Personal Expression, will be shown to the students, showing how self-expression inspires creativity.

Students will improvise, through body movement and acting, what a line does, if it were animated. Ex. Lively, energetic, excited, active, bouncy, dancing, flowing, curvy, etc. 

Drawing exercise #2: processing their thoughts through drawing; Students will use self-expression to create a drawing that utilizes different types of lines, disclosing what a line can do. 

Day 3: Line, What does it look like?
Students will inspect lines and discuss their characteristics.  Through observation and research of objects and things in their surroundings, students will explore, in detail, the various characters of a line.  (Thick, Medium, Thin, Texture, Solid, Open, etc.).
Students will collaborate through class discussion, and exchange thoughts and ideas of what lines look like, in their own eyes.

Drawing exercise #3: What does line look like in a still-life; using your imagination or drawing from observation, draw a still-life of fruits. What it looks like, is up to you. The only constraints are to use lines only to create your artwork and to have a minimum of 5 different fruits in your drawing. 

Students should consider thinking about what expression they want to leave the viewer with with their art.

Day 4: Line, How does it act?
Students will explore new ways of thinking, seeing and creating art using lines to evoke emotions. Through experience and knowledge, from the previous classes, this session will focus on affording the student the space to have fun within the bounds of the creative process and not on creating finished works of art. 

Drawing exercise #4: How does line act? In this final exercise, students will be able to connect, in an abstract manner, with the element of “Line”, creating an abstract work of art, that evokes emotion yet draws the attention of the viewer.

Day 5: Line, Peer Assessment and Open Conversation?
During this session, Students will be able to speak confidently about their creativity process and will be treated with respect when talking about the experiences that evoked their creativity. 

Joy2Learn Artists /Videos that Support Project

Gregory Hines, Why – Personal Expression 
Hector Elizondo, Inside Hector’s head

Art Forms that May Be Included

Performing, Story telling, Drawing

Connections to Students Passion Areas and Interests

A personal reflection of prior experiences will be manifested in the student’s artwork, based on the interpretation of their lines.

Materials Needed

Four, 8.5” x.11”, sheets of white drawing paper, 2, 2B pencil, pencil sharpener, vinyl and kneaded erasers, Fine point black sharpie pen.

Optional drawing materials: Color pencils or Color fine point markers


One-to-one paraprofessional, and classroom paraprofessionals, physical therapist, and occupational therapist


Assessing the Creativity Thinking Process:
(Basic Thinking: (actual) drawing lines, straight, curve, broken, etc.,
Critical Thinking: (implied) Conga line, line of cars, picket fence, Road, etc.)


5 days of exploring lines and its ability to develop the creativity thinking process. 

Each day will utilize a 55 minute classroom session, exploring creativity and strengthening critical thinking through inquiry, drawing exercises, getting into the Zone (Maker-Mindset), and evoking personal responses.