Lesson Plan: Architecture - Gabled Roofs -Shapes

Gabled Roofs

Art Image Publications Lesson Plan
Places and Spaces in Art, a Program of Activities on Architecture and Landscape Design
Kindergarten – Grade 1 – Grade 2

Teacher’s Guide by: Joanne K. Guilfoil



We have seen cave drawings and made a pastel drawing. Now we will go outside and explore roofs on buildings.



Focus on the art reproduction: This is a picture of buildings, villagers, and the beautiful Quebec countryside in winter. The brightly colored houses of the Baie Saint-Paul region inspired the artist, Clarence Gagnon, to paint them. Gagnon had trained as an artist in Montreal then worked as a painter and illustrator in Paris, France. However, he returned to the Baie Saint-Paul region of Quebec to paint the people, hills, and villages there. Can you see them in this painting?


TECHNIQUE: Marker Drawing

Left: ART REPRODUCTION: Gagnon, Clarence, Near Baie Saint-Paul ( Catalog #1.10)
Evening on the North Shore – 1924 (similar work) http://cybermuse.gallery.ca/
More works by Clarence Gagnon can be found online


.Clarence Gagnon used large rough brush strokes and brilliant colors. He ground his paint himself. In this painting he wanted us to see clearly the pink house with icicles and the yellow house with clothes hung out to dry. Can you imagine having a pink house? How about a yellow house? If you could paint a house, what color would it be? Ask them to look at the yellow house again. Can you see how the water and icicles drip from the slant of the gable roof ? Notice the triangle shape of the gable, and the snow still on the gable roof. Gagnon also wanted us to see the other houses in the background and the snow in the hills, and to notice the children playing. What are they doing? Do they look cold? Clarence Gagnon is well known for his paintings of this region of French Canada, and its early buildings. Can you find the clothes hanging on the line and the horse in front of the sleigh standing beside the building? Artists who plan the shapes of buildings are called architects.

Have you seen houses like this in our community? Where?



The student will:

  • Explore and describe the houses of Baie Saint-Paul, and other buildings (from photographs) using words for shapes and colors

  • Identify the shapes of a gable roof in the painting and photographs

  • Create a drawing of a house with a gable roof

  • Look for architectural elements in their own community


Shape, color, gable, gable roof, building, exterior



AquaMarkers., white Drawing Paper. or Newsprint. 12" x 18" (30.5 x 45.7 cm), photographs of houses. Optional: Triangles. and squares, 3 x 3" (7.7 x 7.7 cm)

Alternate materials: Construction Paper., Crayons., Pastels., Oil Pastels. on colored paper.

Clarence Gagnon prints:



Guide students in discussion about the buildings depicted in Gagnon’s painting. Ask who they see in this painting and what the children are doing. The buildings are houses where people live. How can you tell? Help them recognize the time of year shown here and the type of weather conditions. Explain that the gable roof is designed to shed water, snow, and melting ice. Help them to see the gray sky, blue mountains, and yellow and pink houses. Ask the students to find the triangles, rectangles, and squares in the building exteriors. How many can they find? Ask them to find the many shades of orange, yellow, and blue. What are the shapes and colors of the houses? Help them to see the yellow and blue rectangles and triangles. Show them the largest triangle. It makes the gable in the gable roof.



Create a drawing of a house with a gable roof. Find objects in the classroom that have triangle shapes. Ask students to look again at the art reproduction and trace over the gable roof with their fingers, then draw a triangle in the air. Distribute the materials. Tell students that they will draw a house with a gable roof. Show them photographs of houses and help them identify gable roofs. Some students may need to trace the pre-cut shapes (square on the bottom of the page, triangle above) on their paper using the markers. While they are drawing, remind them that they are placing the triangle above the square to make a house with a gable roof! Ask them to imagine the time of year and include details such as icicles, rain, sun, trees, and flowers in their drawings. If they add another house or a tree, it will be beside the house, or to the right or left of the house. Time permitting, encourage students to incorporate other buildings and people to complete the pictures.



Display the drawings at eye level. Ask students to trace over with their fingers the gable in the gable roof in their drawing. Help them compare and contrast the drawings in a way that celebrates the variety (of windows, doors, chimneys) in the buildings. Help them see the drawings as exteriors of buildings.



The student should have:

  • Identified geometric shapes (triangle, rectangle) in the gable roof of the yellow house (in the painting)

  • Made a drawing of a gable roof on a house

Scoring Criteria

The extent to which each student:

  • Describes gable roofs, triangles, rectangles, squares, and bright colors in houses in the painting and in own artwork.

  • Manipulates drawing materials to show lines and shapes in a gable roof and some spatial relationships (above/below, left/right).


Be a Gable Roof Detective:

Help students search house, family, or architectural design magazines for photographs of a variety of roofs. Have students cut out and arrange the roofs by shape (triangles, rectangles, other combinations). Help them glue these gable roofs on Drawing Paper. and complete their details with wax crayons to make a neighborhood or village.


Become a Builder

Show students how to fold a piece of construction paper lengthwise, in half, to form a 3-D gable roof. Using same color construction paper, help them cut two triangles to make the gable ends. Help them tape or glue the pieces together. Have students place the roof on a milk carton or box covered with paper to create a small village. Provide markers so they can draw details: windows, curtains, doors, shingles, siding. Time permitting, the students may wish to complete their village by adding 3-D trees, fences, people, and so on.


Where in the World?

Show students photographs of roofs from houses around the world. Decide on a locale. Help them make a 2-D roof for a house. To help them with this task, pre-cut or have students cut roof shapes (e.g., pagoda, tepee, yurt, condo, thatched hut) using construction paper or light-weight cardboard. Cut or ask students to cut paper strips to simulate side walls of the house. Gather other materials (e.g., foil, cloth, leaves, grass, twigs, papers, hay, Thread.) to simulate roofing materials. Have students glue items of their choice on a roof shape to simulate building materials such as grass, tile, wood, metal. Help them attach the paper-strip sides to the roof shape to look like a house. Arrange the 2-D roof shapes on a wall in the hall to resemble a village, neighborhood, town, or subdivision.


Print a Roof

Have students cut Triangles. and squares from potato halves or oil-base clay. Help them use water paints or Tempera Paint. to print a square, then a triangle on top of it, to make a gable roof on a house. Repeat in a row making a row of houses with gable roofs.


Preview (next lesson in series)

Next we will go inside a building. We will look at a cook stove as part of a room interior and we will make a crayon-resist painting of a cook stove.



Call Rachel Ross, Art Education Consultant, at 1 800 361-2598 or write to rachel.ross@artimagepublications.com.

© Art Image Publications



Add to or Comment on this Page:

More To Explore