Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pairing Paintings and Poems Revisted

Yes! I did get to teach my pairing paintings and poems lesson! I thought it went very well. I began by displaying Rousseau's Surprised! (shown above) and brainstorming with the class everything we saw in the painting. Then we decided the main idea of the painting.

Though I had found a poem that matched this painting pretty well, I decided it was a little out of reach of some of my students. I wrote a poem (at the end of the post) to go along with the painting and we read it together. We compared the poem with the painting and looked for common details.

When I asked the students to complete this activity on their own with a different painting and poem pair, they were able to do so with little difficulty. The kids enjoyed the activity in part because I gave each student an individual print out of his or her painting (in color!) and poem. The students were excited to get to hold and study the paintings up close.

I recommend this activity. It was a hit with my class. If you would like a copy of the worksheet I used, email me and I'd be happy to send one along.

My tiger poem:


A hungry tiger in the rain

crouched in windblown grass

and growled

and scowled

and bared her teeth

and waited for prey to pass.

Soundlessly she prowled

as lightning lit the sky.

Then thunder crashed

and forward she dashed,

determined not to let her prey slip by.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pairing Paintings with Poems

It certainly has been awhile! I’m student teaching this semester (and loving every minute of it) so things have been busy around here. I have had some time the last few days, though, because we got hit by a ton of snow and schools have been closed now for over a week! I’m sure the kids are loving it, but I’m ready to get back.

I spent some time last week working on a lesson for our poetry unit and I thought some of you might be interested in what I put together. Some time ago I read an article by Judith Jester in which she talked about how we “read” paintings in the same way we read literature. I wanted to use this idea so I went on a hunt for four poems that I could match to four paintings. This was a lot more difficult than you’d think! Below is what I found.

I matched Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Afternoon on a Hill” with Claude Monet’s Poppies at Arguenteuil (shown above).

Deborah Chandra’s poem “Bubbles” matched Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin’s Boy Blowing Bubbles.

Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) by Henri Rousseau seemed a great illustration of “Tiger Dance” by Carconti Etva.

And “Wind Pictures” by Mary O’Neill (scroll toward the bottom of the page to find the poem) paired well with N.C. Wyeth’s The Giant.

All of the poems except Tiger Dance can be found in The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury selected by Jack Prelutsky. It’s really a great book. It has so many wonderful poems, all illustrated superbly by Meilo So.

My thought is to have the students read each poem and look at each painting and decide which painting to pair with which picture. Then they’ll write about how they made the pairings.

I’m excited about this lesson. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Virtual Cookie Decorating

Cookie baking has always been a part of the Christmas season in my house.

But you can only make so many cookies before you run out of people to eat them. When you’ve made enough real cookies, head to this site to decorate some virtual cookies.

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Create Your Own Christmas Carol Ornament

This project is best for older kids. The paper strips are small and the ornaments are made of glass. That said, I had a good time making mine!

Supplies Needed:

Clear glass ornament

Printed Christmas carol lyrics


Yarn or ribbon

Printer and ink

Google search for the lyrics of the Christmas carol of your choice. Here’s a good place to start. I chose Joy to the World. Copy and paste the lyrics into a word document and change the font size and color. I found that 18 point font is about the right size. Print two copies of the lyrics.

Cut the lines into strips and trim off the extra white paper. Bend, but do not crease, the first strip and slip it through the mouth of the ornament, center first. Repeat with every strip. The strips will open up and lie against the inside of the glass ball. If, after two copies, you don’t think your ornament is full enough, print another copy and keep adding strips.

Hang your ornament and enjoy!

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Create Your Own Gingerbread Man Garland

This is another kindergarten project that’s fun for all ages. When my sister was in kindergarten she made a gingerbread man garland that still hangs on our tree every year. My sister would be perfectly happy if that garland ended up in the trash and each year she tries to convince our mother to leave it off the tree, but her arguments only cause our mother to choose ever more prominent placements for that piece of kindergarten artwork.

Supplies Needed:

Brown paper (a bag will do)










I believe my sister’s teacher used a die cut to make the gingerbread men, but you can create your own tracer by copying and pasting this gingerbread man into a word document and resizing. You want the gingerbread men to be about 4 inches by 6 inches. They should fit neatly into a sandwich bag for storage. An adult will want to cut four of five gingerbread men for each garland. Kindergarteners and 1st graders will quickly become frustrated if they have to do it themselves.

Cover your work space! Glitter! Ahh!

Decorate each gingerbread man differently. Use any or all of the materials for each.

When everything is dry (this could take awhile), an adult can link the gingerbread men by stapling a length of yarn to the backs of the gingerbread men’s arms.

Hang on a tree or over a door and enjoy. Maybe it will still be around when you’re in your 20s!

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