H.B. Whitehorne’s grade 7 French students recently concluded their cultural unit of French painters, focussing on the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Students worked on researching various well-known artists and presented their artists and their works via Google Slides. The students gave a brief biography of their artist, an autobiography (in French) on themselves, and presented their favorite artistic works. Additionally, students had the opportunity to welcome two guest speakers to their classroom.
First, Dr. Laura Morowitz, an art history professor at Wagner College (a Verona resident and mother to two of Madame Podolak’s former HBW French students) came in and discussed the Impressionist art movement with the seventh graders. Next, the class welcomed HBW’s very own music connoisseur and band leader, Dan Halpern, who spoke to the class about the French composer Claude Debussy and the Impressionist music movement during the same time period of the painters. Together, students were able to tie in how historic, scientific, artistic and musical innovations of the late 1800s and early 1900s affected the culture of the time as well as the music and art that we listen to today.
To conclude their cultural unit, students had a field trip to Pinot’s Palette in Montclair (which is owned by Colleen Carlee, a Verona resident and mother of another former French student of Madame Podolak’s) where they recreated Claude Monet’s Water Lilies in the Impressionist style. Students were also able to enjoy a French-style breakfast of croissants and pains au chocolat, before they set out on their painting adventure. It was a wonderful way for students to immerse themselves in this fascinating time of art and music by using all their senses: sight, sound, touch and taste.