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End of the Cold War and Russian Artists Lesson and Classroom Resources

Updated on June 3, 2016
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

Drawing Kandinsky's Squares with Concentric Rings
Drawing Kandinsky's Squares with Concentric Rings

This is part 8 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Recreate Kandinsky’s and Marc Chagall’s works, build and then knock down a model of the Berlin Wall, decorate pysanky eggs, make and eat kulich, and more while learning about the end of the Cold War and contemporary Russian artists. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used as we studied the End of the Cold War and also Russian Artists using the fun unit study book Russia: Land of Endurance by Konos Curriculum. Use these ideas with your class, family, or homeschool co-op group!

Included in this lens you'll find some of the activities we did along with our favorite books we read and YouTube clips we watched while we studied Russian Artists and also the end of the Cold War. Topics featured include Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, The End of the Cold War, and Pysanky Eggs & Kulich.

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Wassily Kandinsky

Drawing our own versions of Kandinsky's Squares with Concentric Rings

The Best Children's Books on Kandinsky

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art

This is a wonderful children's picture book biography about Kandinsky. It tells the story of how he first started drawing as a young child and how the colors seemed to make music for him. It really helps children understand his concept behind Abstract art. I have used this book since then when tutoring preschoolers and kindergarten aged children in Classical Conversations when we learn about Abstract Art.

 
The Blue Rider: The Yellow Cow Sees the World in Blue (Adventures in Art) by Doris Kutschbach - Image credit: amazon.com
The Blue Rider: The Yellow Cow Sees the World in Blue (Adventures in Art) by Doris Kutschbach - Image credit: amazon.com

The Blue Rider: The Yellow Cow Sees the World in Blue (Adventures in Art) by Doris Kutschbach is another great picture book that shows the friendship between and compares the art of The Blue Rider group (Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, Alexej Jawlensky, August Macke, Gabriele Munter, and Marianne von Werefkin). It talks about how they interacted and got ideas from each other.

Another Kandinsky-inspired abstract art project
Another Kandinsky-inspired abstract art project

We used an oil pastel to draw random, overlapping lines. Then we used watercolor paints to paint each connecting shape a different color or shade.

YouTube Clips We Enjoyed on Kandinsky

We used the idea from the art lesson video clip to do our reproductions of Kandinsky's Squares with Concentric Rings.

This shows what to do for the Kandinsky Circle art activity.

This shows some of Kandinsky's works of art.

Marc Chagall

Our combined efforts to recreate Chagall's I and the Village. We cut up pieces of paper. Everyone drew part of Chagall's painting. Then we pasted the pictures together.

I Am Marc Chagall (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) by Bimba Landmann - Image credit: amazon.com
I Am Marc Chagall (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) by Bimba Landmann - Image credit: amazon.com

Our Favorite Books on Marc Chagall

I Am Marc Chagall (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) by Bimba Landmann is another great picture book biography on Chagall that is loosely based on his autobiography. It is shorter than the one above, so it would be ideal for a child with a very short attention span. We also enjoyed the picture books Dreamer from the Village by Michelle Markel, Journey on a Cloud: A Children's Book Inspired by Marc Chagall by Veronique Massenot, Chagall from A to Z by Marie Sellier, and Marc Chagall: Life is a Dream (Adventures in Art) by Marc Chagall. My 7 year old son enjoyed reading A Picture for Marc (A Stepping Stone Book) by Eric A. Kimmel, which is a shorter chapter book that focuses on Marc Chagall's life as a child.

Good YouTube Clips on Marc Chagall

Need More Ideas & Activities?

Dreaming with Marc Chagall Art History Unit for 7th Grade leads students in examining Chagall's life and how Chagall's contemporaries (Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, etc.) included his work. Afterward, students create Chagall-style works of art.

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov

Ivan Pavlov: Exploring the Mysteries of Behavior (Great Minds of Science) by Barbara R Saunders - Image credit: amazon.com
Ivan Pavlov: Exploring the Mysteries of Behavior (Great Minds of Science) by Barbara R Saunders - Image credit: amazon.com

Reading About Ivan Pavlov

The only children's book we could find on Ivan Pavlov was Ivan Pavlov: Exploring the Mysteries of Behavior (Great Minds of Science) by Barbara R Saunders, which is a 112 page chapter book. It is very straightforward and includes the suggestion to try out Pavlov's theories.

Good YouTube Clips on Pavlov

Pavlovian reactions aren't just for dogs

The End of the Cold War

Getting ready to knock down "the wall" -- built from Lincoln Logs -- but it helped them remember about the Berlin Wall getting knocked down

Good Books About the End of the Cold War

The Turning
The Turning

This is a chapter book and is about a Russian ballet dancer who is considering defecting in 1991. It includes so much about this time period and is the perfect addition to this unit! The author does a wonderful job of making the characters come to life! This is perfect for a family read aloud book or for older children (ages 8+) to read themselves.

 
The Fall of the Berlin Wall (Graphic History (Graphic Planet))
The Fall of the Berlin Wall (Graphic History (Graphic Planet))

My boys especially love graphic (comic book like) books! This is a great one on the fall of the Berlin Wall!

 
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Border Breakdown: The Fall of the Berlin Wall - a Smithsonian Odyssey Adventure Book (Odyssey Adventures) by Molly Smith - Image credit: amazon.comGlobalization: 1977-2008- Graphic U.S. History (Saddleback Graphic: U.S. History) by Saddleback Educational Publishing
Border Breakdown: The Fall of the Berlin Wall - a Smithsonian Odyssey Adventure Book (Odyssey Adventures) by Molly Smith - Image credit: amazon.com
Border Breakdown: The Fall of the Berlin Wall - a Smithsonian Odyssey Adventure Book (Odyssey Adventures) by Molly Smith - Image credit: amazon.com
Globalization: 1977-2008- Graphic U.S. History (Saddleback Graphic: U.S. History) by Saddleback Educational Publishing
Globalization: 1977-2008- Graphic U.S. History (Saddleback Graphic: U.S. History) by Saddleback Educational Publishing

Border Breakdown: The Fall of the Berlin Wall - a Smithsonian Odyssey Adventure Book (Odyssey Adventures) by Molly Smith is a picture book about a modern girl who goes back in time to WWII and gets to observe the Berlin Wall getting constructed and then later destroyed. Globalization: 1977-2008- Graphic U.S. History (Saddleback Graphic: U.S. History) by Saddleback Educational Publishing is a comic-book style book that covers American history from 1977-2008, so it includes some of the events regarding the breakup of the USSR.

George HW Bush and the End of the Cold War: Crash Course US History #44

The Reagan Legacy: The End of the Cold War

Pysanky Eggs & Kulich

Our simplified versions of Pysanky eggs and Kulich (Easter Bread) to go with our Ukrainian meal. We used crayons to draw designs on hardboiled eggs and then we dyed the eggs using food coloring and water.

One of Our Favorite Books on Pysanky Eggs

Easter Eggs for Anya: A Ukrainian Celebration of New Life in Christ (Traditions of Faith from Around the World)
Easter Eggs for Anya: A Ukrainian Celebration of New Life in Christ (Traditions of Faith from Around the World)

This is a great picture book that tells the legend behind the Pysanky eggs and includes the Christian significance behind them.

 
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Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco - All images are from amazon.com.The Birds' Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story by Eric A. KimmelChicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco - All images are from amazon.com.
Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco - All images are from amazon.com.
The Birds' Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story by Eric A. Kimmel
The Birds' Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story by Eric A. Kimmel
Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco

Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco is about a Ukrainian Babushka and her magical goose. The Birds' Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story by Eric A. Kimmel tells the folk legend behind the Ukrainian Pysanky Eggs about when villages retrieved geese from a frozen pond and received colorful eggs in the spring as a gift. Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco is a story from the author's childhood that involves her friendship with 2 boys who encounter racism. They make amends by making Pysanky eggs.

YouTube Clips We Enjoyed on Pysanky Eggs

Ready for more?

Painting a Russian Orthodox triptych from Lesson 1: Russian Geography and Early Russian History Lesson
Painting a Russian Orthodox triptych from Lesson 1: Russian Geography and Early Russian History Lesson
Designing and launching rockets from Lesson 6: The Cold War and Arms Race
Designing and launching rockets from Lesson 6: The Cold War and Arms Race

Cook borscht and blini, study and paint like the famous artists of Russia, perform a miniature "Nutcracker" ballet performance, dramatize a Communist lunch (complete with sentencing to "Siberia" for the non-compliant), and more in the fun 8 part study on Russia!

  • Russian Geography and Early Russian History Lesson - This is part 1 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Paint a Russian Orthodox triptych, taste caviar, play the Russian Temperate Zone Game, read classic Baba Yaga tales, and more while learning about Russian geography and early Russian history. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian geography and early Russian history.
  • Russian Czars Lesson - This is part 2 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Construct a model of the Red Square, attempting Cossack-style dancing, decorate eggs like Carl Faberge, read classic Czar tales, and more while learning about Russian Czars. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian Czars.
  • Russian Revolution Lesson - This is part 3 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Play the Russian Civil War version of Capture the Flag, endure a "Communist" lunch complete with trying to trade food on the black market, create Communist flags, and more while learning about the Russian Revolution. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Russian Revolution.
  • Siberia Lesson - This is part 4 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Sketch an Aurora Borealis landscape scene using pastels, making grape jelly to demonstrate the smelting process, cut out various shapes of snowflakes, dress up as and pretend to be musk oxen, walruses, Siberian tigers, and reindeer, and more while learning about Siberia. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Siberia.
  • Russian Ballet Lesson - This is part 5 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Perform a miniature production of The Nutcracker, learn the basic positions in ballet, watch videos of and read about famous Russian dancers including Anna Pavlova, Nijinsky, and Baryshnikov, and more while learning about Russian ballet. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian ballet.
  • The Cold War and Arms Race Lesson - This is part 6 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Design and launch various types of rockets, dramatize the Berlin Airlift and the Chocolate Pilot, prepare and eat blini, and more while learning about the Cold War and the Arms Race. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Cold War and the Arms Race.
  • The Space Race and The Olympics Lesson - This is part 7 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Make a full-size model of Sputnik 1, learn gymnastics moves and host a miniature Olympics gymnastics competition, experiment with sugar while learning about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and more while learning about the Space Race and Russian Olympics. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Space Race and Russian Olympics.
  • End of the Cold War and Russian Artists Lesson - This is part 8 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Recreate Kandinsky’s and Marc Chagall’s works, build and then knock down a model of the Berlin Wall, decorate pysanky eggs, make and eat kulich, and more while learning about the end of the Cold War and contemporary Russian artists. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the end of the Cold War and contemporary Russian artists.
  • Russia: Faberge, Chess, & Borscht – This lesson provides a simple overview of Russia. I have compiled all you will need to locate Russia on a map, cook a Russian meal, watch YouTube clips on Russia, color the flag, create a Russian craft, read a great book about Russia, and more!
  • Ukraine: A Missing Mitten, Pysanky Easter Eggs, & Babka Bread – If you would like to learn a bit more on Ukraine, visit my lesson at which I have shared all you will need to locate Ukraine on a map, cook a Ukrainian meal, watch YouTube clips on Ukraine, color the flag, create a Ukrainian craft, read a great book about Ukraine, and more!

Russia: Land of Endurance

All of the above activities featured in the photos are just some of the many excellent activities featured in Russia: Land of Endurance by Konos Curriculum. The curriculum is easy to follow, with a lesson full of activities for each day of the week. You can either buy the book or you can buy the lesson book along with needed craft supplies and books.

What first comes to mind when you think of Russian Artists or the end of the Cold War? - Or just let me know you were here! I love hearing from you!

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    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon 

      5 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you for visiting!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I think of St. Petersberg. Beautiful lens!

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