Lesson Plan for Fantasy Animals

For the book “Fantasy Animals,” go to my author page:  amazon.com/dp/B01LYJAGLK


Here are the Lesson Plans for Teachers with Core Concepts for Visual Arts, Spanish and Social Studies!




 Visual Arts


  1. What’s the Big Idea?  Questions for creating art and design that can affect social change:

Spanish-Speaking Culture

Can you Create a work of art based on an art form invented and used in the cultural history and context  of Mexico, a Spanish speaking country?

Visual Arts

The basis of this assignment is based on the Alebrijes which are wooden carving of two or more animals originating outside of Mexico City, Mexico in the 1930’s by Pedro Linares. The assignment is to draw and paint an alebrijes making the two animals from different continents. Can you design such an animal and describe it’s ways to get along with “itself”?

Spanish Language

Can you learn Spanish words  to  be used to communicate and identify the names of the colors, and to count the number of “prey” that the animals eat?


  1. Art Making – Materials needed.  Process & Product.

The materials needed include:

A slide show of Alebrijes made in Mexico

Tag board

Tempera Paint quart size

Brushes small, medium and large

Sharpie Markers


  1. How will Spanish Language be incorporated? 

Spanish language will be incorporated in music for listening while making art work.

Spanish words for colors will be used as students describe one another’s art works.

Spanish names for the names of the animals will be used.

Spanish words for one through ten in counting will be used for the counting of the “Prey” of the animals.



  1. What might the presentation of understanding look like? How will student work be assessed?

The presentation of the project will be enhanced by a power point slideshow of cultural examples of Alebrijes.  During this presentation, teacher will lead a discussion on the use of the Art Elements and Principles.

Then at least two examples of the project will be shown as exemplars, with two animals in their natural habitat.

Assessment 1: Write a reflection or short story on how the two animals in your Alebrijes would coexist.

Assessment 2: the final painting of the student’s alebrijes would be evaluated according to the rubric given for the art project.

Assessment 3: Vocabulary search and find for Spanish words for colors used, and animals used.

  1. How will this address Interculturality and other aspects of Global Competencies?


Interculturality and Global competency will be addressed through the requirement that each animal come from another continent for one another. The animals will have to learn to coexist by sharing the same space and making cooperative decisions regarding walking/running habits, eating habits, sleeping habits and habitat preferences.

Creating this project will address intercultural language issues by learning names of colors and animals to strengthen communication.



  1. List some standards that this lesson/unit supports? (WL, Arts, SS) [short description – not just codes]


HS Accomplished


Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan works of art and design.

VA-CII3- Elaborate on an imaginary idea


Performance Standard VA: Crt.HSIII-     Following or breaking established conventions to plan the making of multiple works of art based on theme, idea or concept.



Visualize and hypothesize plans for ideas and directions for creating art and design that can affect social change.


  1. Ideas for leading Professional Development based on Take-Away from this Academy:

This project could be presented in an in-service for teachers, incorporating the Alebrijes project, the writing assignment reflecting on how the two animals could co-exist and additionally learning Spanish vocabulary for colors and numbers.


  1. Plans for collaboration with other teachers who teach other subjects:


I am making plans with the Spanish teacher in my school at Western Hills High School. We are going to combine our respective art and Spanish classes for the 6th hour class period for 3 to 5 days, using the project described here in this lesson worksheet.  We will then present the results of this workshop or combined class project in a special art exhibit to be shown in conjunction with the special Music and Band program Performance for Thanksgiving.



Backward Design Lesson Plan

Unit _Visual arts and Spanish Cultural Integration___________________              

Grade Level __9-12______________            Time of Year to be Taught:__EarlyTeacher Team:  ________________________________________________________________________________________

Stage 1: What will students know and be able to do at the end of this lesson?

Objectives: Students will learn the history of the Alegrijes and will be able to make a plan for drawing and painting an alebrijes with two animals each being from a separate continent.


Vocabulary: Students will look up the names of their two animals in Spanish and learn these words. They will also practice learning how to count to ten in Spanish. Spanish words for colors will also be introduced.



Structures: The lesson will be introduced with a Powerpoint to demonstrate the alebrijes and how they appeared in Mexico. Then the project will be introduced with a rubric. Students will draw their two animals by looking at images found on the internet of their two animals. Then they will draw their animals’ habitat.



Culture: The Mexican culture of the 1930’s will be introduced through the introductory slide show along with some music from that place and time.


 Stage 2: How will you know that students can do that?

Assessments: On day one, I will see their preliminary sketches of their two animals in their habitat. On the final day, I will evaluate the final project or painting using the rubric given at the outsell. Students will also write a story of the two animals and how they work together to solve their differences.

 Stage 3: What instructional activities will be used?


  • Opening/Activity 1 Slideshow. Music. Reading of an exemplary short story of an alebriges combining two animals, each from different countries written by an author.



  • Activity 2 Rubrics handed out to students. Art Project described. Rubric presented. Students find their two animals, draw and create the habitat in a preliminary or final drawing.



  • Activity 3 …Students create their painting of the Alebrijes



  • Closing/Activity Students will share their paintings with one another and their reflection piece incorporating how the animals will coexist and the Spanish vocabulary of colors, animal names and number of one to ten.


Stage 4: What Standards does this address in Arts, World Languages, and Social Studies (cultural studies)?

Visual Arts Standards:


Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan works of art and design.

VA-C113- Elaborate on an imaginary idea

VA:Crl.1.HSIII-  Visual and hypothesize plans for ideas and directions for creating art and design that can affect social change.

Performance Standard- VA:Crt.2.HSIII- Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices following or breaking established conventions to plan the making of multiple works of art based on an idea or concept.

Spanish: World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages


Communicate effectively in more than one language in order to function in a variety of situations and for multiple purposes

  • Interpersonal Communication: Learners interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.
  • Interpretive Communication: Learners understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.
  • Presentational Communication: Learners present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.


Interact with cultural competence and understanding

  • Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.
  • Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures studied.


Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and diverse perspectives in order to use the language to function in academic and career-related situations

  • Making Connections: Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.
  • Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives: Learners access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.


Develop insight into the nature of language and culture in order to interact with cultural competence

  • Language Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.
  • Cultural Comparisons: Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.


Communicate and interact with cultural competence in order to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world

  • School and Global Communities: Learners use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.
  • Lifelong Learning: Learners set goals and reflect on their progress in using languages for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement.



Social Studies:  11.10 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGE/DOMESTIC ISSUES: Racial, gender, and socioeconomic inequalities were addressed by individuals, groups, and organizations. Cycles of economic prosperity and recession as well as economic inequities prompted debates over the role of the federal government in regulating the economy and providing a social safety net. (Standards: 1, 4, 5; Themes: TCC, SOC, GOV, CIV, ECO)   11.10b Diverse groups and organizations sought to bring about change in American society through a variety of methods.



Social studies teachers should possess the knowledge, capabilities, and dispositions to provide instruction

at the appropriate school level for the study of Global Connections and Interdependence.




For Fantasy Animal tops, notebooks, computer skins, clothes and other items, click here:  https://kirsteinfineart.com/2016/07/27/fantasy-animals-coming-soon/




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“Fantasy Animals”: Coming Soon!

Children’s Story coming to Amazon.com soon, written and illustrated by Janis Kirstein.  You don’t want to miss this!



In a  world of conflict and division, this is the story of two very unlikely animals who are born literally joined at the hip. Their life journey and close proximity force these two creatures to learn to get along, or they will not survive the Amazon jungles of their village home.


This unlikely pair are born together in the tradition of the Mexican Alebrijes, which are brightly colored Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures originating from the paper mache- and/or-wood carved adaptions which were pioneered by Arrazola, a Mexican craftsman in the 1930’s. Miraculously enough, this is the story of an Alebrijie that actually comes to life as an African Lion and a South These two animals have no choice but to learn the lessons of cooperation and understanding which results in appreciation and shared love. Through their newly gained empathy and understanding, they begin to resolve their frustrating differences through a multitude of hilarious adventures. This children’s story provides a humorous example of two characters forced to live together as one and how they grow from a place of constant irritation with one another to a new place of understanding, flexibility and love.

Many links to lesson plans and relevant information for classroom teachers will be included.


I am am almost ready to push the publish button on Amazon, so stay tuned!


Lesson plan link coming soon!



An art piece based on the inspiration of the Mexican Alebrijes, or brightly colored animals made in the 1930’s.







Magical Tote Bags




Magical Dresses





Magical Tops




Other Magical Items

Click on thumbnails to enlargehttp://www.redbubble.com/people/janiskirstein/works/22475265-fantastic-animals?asc=u



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