Do you know that Vincent Van Gogh suffered from a rare form of epilepsy?  Did you know that it is now believed he did not die of his own hand (shot himself in the stomach), but was shot by a teenager in the country, dying of his wound three days later? Me neither.  Not until I started teaching my students about him.

Vincent Van Gogh, the artist we don’t know.

Second grade always has fun learning about new artists.  I introduced Vincent Van Gogh through a Powerpoint, a YouTube video and some facts found on  There is a lot of information out there about Van Gogh, and the more I learn about him the more fascinated I become about his life.  Here is one site I reviewed often during our time with this artist:

After discussing his life, his ear, his untimely death, and how his art became famous,  we began examining his work.  Luckily, I have a lot of poster prints of Van Gogh’s most famous works.  Enough to put one at every table (7) and have students rotate through station-style. We looked at subject matter, technique, and formed opinions while discussing in small groups.












Then we did something that doesn’t happen enough in the art room.  We wrote stories.  Students were to base their stories on the artwork.  They could pretend to be Vincent Van Gogh, or they could use the stories as a starting point for their own personal narrative.  Some students read their stories for me into iMovie, and whala, we made a video to present at the monthly assembly.

Next up… their Starry Night art project.

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About Sonia Chapman

I am an art teacher, living in the Middle East, following my passion for art, teaching little children about the finer things in life, and loving every bit of it.


Second Grade


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