Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Keith Haring Dancing Drawings

Subject Area

Arts Education
English Language Arts




Students will read Kay Haring's picture book, Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing. Students will answer questions from the text. Students will identify break dancing as his inspiration. The students will watch a few minutes of a Break Dancing video from YouTube. They will draw their own dancing figure using motion lines to illustrate movement. 

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

    English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 3


    Demonstrate content knowledge built during independent reading of informational and literary texts by participating in content-specific discussions with peers and/or through writing.

    Unpacked Content



    • Demonstrate
    • Content knowledge
    • Independent reading
    • Informational text
    • Literary text
    • Content-specific discussions


    Students know:
    • Content knowledge is information learned about a specific subject.
    • Content knowledge can be learned by independently reading text.
    • Informational text is nonfiction text, and literary text is fictional.
    • Active listening skills.
    • Writing skills.


    Students are able to:
    • Build content knowledge from independently reading informational or literary text.
    • Use content knowledge learned from independent reading in content-specific discussions with peers.
    • Use content knowledge learned from independent reading in writing.


    Students understand that:
    • Content-specific discussions with peers can demonstrate the content knowledge they learned through independent reading.
    • They can produce writings that demonstrate knowledge of content-specific information.
    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 3 - Visual Arts


    Elaborate on an individual or prompted imaginative idea.

    Unpacked Content



    • Creativity
    • Criteria
    • Critique
    • Design
    • Media
    • Mixed media
    • Monochromatic
    • Principles of design
      • Rhythm
    • Technology
    • Visual image

    Essential Questions

    EU: Creativity and innovative thinking are essential life skills that can be developed.
    EQ: What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking? What factors prevent or encourage people to take creative risks? How does collaboration expand the creative process?

    Skills Examples

    • Use a variety of materials to create a three-dimensional mask showing a student's personality.
    • Use torn paper scraps to create rhythm in a landscape.
    • Plan a community/city; then, build a model of it with recyclable materials, such as cardboard, boxes, containers, and tubes.
    • Collaborate with a group to demonstrate how to care for tools used in class (such as paintbrushes).
    • After looking at Vincent van Gogh's painting, Bedroom, create a narrative painting depicting a memory of a student's personal bedroom.
    • Use appropriate visual art vocabulary during the art-making process of two-and-three-dimensional artworks.
    • Collaborate with others to create a work of art that addresses an interdisciplinary theme.
    • Read and explore books like Imagine That by Joyce Raimondo or Dinner at Magritte's by Michael Garland and then create a Surrealistic style artwork.
    • Recognize and identify choices that give meaning to a personal work of art.
    • Create a drawing using monochromatic colors (paint, oil pastels, etc.).
    • Explore individual creativity using a variety of media.
    • Understand what effects different media can have in a work of art.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will identify break dancing as the inspiration for Keith Haring's dancing figures.
    Students will illustrate movement using motion lines in a dancing figure drawing.

    Activity Details

    Students will read Kay Haring's picture book, Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing.

    Students will answer questions from the text.
    What inspired Keith?
    Why did he make art?
    Why did he give his money away?
    Where did he make art? 
    (NOTE: Information for taking an Accelerated Reading (AR) Test on this book is included in the Advanced Preparations section below.)

    Students will view images of Keith Haring's dancing figures. The instructor could share illustrations from the book or use a digital tool to share images of Keith Haring's paintings from Jenny Shepard's Tes Teach Gallery

    Students will discuss how the motion lines illustrate movement for the figure.

    Students will view a few minutes of a breakdancing video from YouTube. 
    *You can share the whole 5-minute video if you would like. Two minutes would be enough for students to get the idea.

    Students will create their own dancing figure drawing inspired by the movements of the dancers from the video.

    Students will use motion lines to illustrate movement in their dancing figure drawing.

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies




    Student identified break dancing as the inspiration for Keith Haring’s dancing figures based on the text.



    Student illustrated movement in their dancing figure drawing using motion lines.




    Variation Tips

    Please consider the follow-up activity, Keith Haring Dance Phrase.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Resources Needed:

    Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing (Book)
    Haring, Kay A.
    AR Quiz No. 187592 En Nonfiction
    IL: LG - BL: 3.8 - AR Pts. 0.5
    AR Quiz Types: RP

    Break Dancing Video 
    Beat Street 1984 (The Roxy Battle)

    Images of his Art:
    I would recommend selecting a view images of his work to share with your class. 
    You can also download this free color sheet to use as an "idea sheet" for your class. Students can use this sheet to help plan their dancing figure drawing.

    Supplies Needed:
    Paper (Your desired size)
    Sharpies (for outlining pencil drawing)
    Crayons/Markers (for adding optional color)

    Digital Tools / Resources