Russell for Learning is a unit-based lesson plan produced by the C.M. Russell Museum to take education about the life of Charles Russell and the West that he experienced to students across the state of Montana. In unit form, it is easily adaptable to be used by teachers in their classrooms.

The first two units are below. A total of four units are planned and will be added to the site as they are developed.

Paintings & Poets

Take some time to read poems from the Paintings and Poets unit. These poems were all written by Montana poets. They draw their inspiration from many things: art, the natural world, family, and so much more. Encourage your child to use this time at home to find their inspirations, go for a walk, play with their pet, spend time with family, look at Charlie’s paintings, or think about how they are feeling about what is going on in our world right now. Poetry is considered an artform, it’s a literary art. Now that your child has found their inspiration, encourage them to use poetry to creatively express themselves.

A Watercolor Statement

Use the Watercolor Statement unit with your child to help them learn to write about their own art and their creative process. If you don’t have watercolors, that’s okay! You can use crayons, colored pencils, chalk, drawing pencils, or any kind of paint or art materials you have on hand to create a piece of art. You don’t even have to paint the sky, your child can choose their own subject, or if they have a piece of art they’ve already completed, they can use that too. Read the artist statements by the Montana artists. Have your child write a few paragraphs about their own artwork using the questions from lesson 6 as a guideline.

These are just a few ways in which the Russell for Learning units can be adapted to use at home and for multiple grade levels. Let us know how you are using the units with your children, we would love to hear from you!

For questions or feedback please email us at