July 6, 2014

Poetry Paintings

Guest post by Chelsea Allen from Flip Floppin' through 3rd Grade

In our school, we use the common core standards to guide our instruction. So, for the month of April I wanted to complete some kind of poetry unit, but also make sure my lessons were derived from the CCSS. That is where I started when I created my poetry lessons, but I also wanted to make sure that I was presenting my students with rigorous poetry to match the expectations. So I used the ELA Appendix of the CCSS to find text exemplars to use with my students. I chose four different poems for us to read and discuss. Those poems are “Who Has Seen the Wind” by Christina Rossetti, “Your World” by Georgia Douglas Johnson, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, and “Afternoon on a Hill” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Before we read the poems, we created an anchor chart to record the information we were going to keep referring to and placed it in a prominent location in the classroom. Once I felt that the students understood the structure, language, theme, and mood, I created a graphic organizer to model for the students how I wanted them to analyze the poems.

I decided to begin with “Who Has Seen the Wind”. First we just read the poem out loud. Then we reread the poem and discussed vocabulary words. Finally we analyzed the poem as a whole group and recorded the information on the graphic organizer. Next, we chose the poem “Afternoon on a Hill”. This time we read the poem together and discussed the vocabulary. I then allowed the students to work with a partner to record their findings on the graphic organizer.

We then reviewed the information they found together as a whole group. For the last two poems, I asked the students to work with a partner to complete the reading, discussion, and analyzing of each poem. At first I thought “Wow – I’m not sure how well my 3rd graders will understand such classic poetry.” But they AMAZED me!


Once we had analyzed all four poems, I allowed the students to choose their favorite poem so that we could also work on visualizing what we read. Each student was asked to create a watercolor painting of the image they visualized in their mind while reading their favorite poem. The students enjoyed this part of the project tremendously.



Students were also required to write a reflection piece to explain why they chose to create the image and how it portrayed their poem.

I think the end results were amazing! We learned new poetry concepts, analyzed classic poems, visualized, painted, and reflected on our artwork and how it related to poetry. All of this with 3rd graders enjoying what they were learning!

I hope this is a project you can adapt and use in your classroom. It really helped my students understand how to read and analyze poetry.

Chelsea Allen is currently a 3rd grade teacher, but also has experience teaching 4th grade, 6th grade, and has worked as a K-6th grade librarian. grade librarian. She has found her true career passion working in the classroom. She lives and works in Kentucky, but did teach for a small time in Florida. She is also the Teacher Blogger for www.flipfloppinthrough.blogspot.com.

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