Submitted by: Colleen J. Hodel, Elementary Art Specialist, Wisconsin Unit: Art and Language Arts Integration Lesson Plan: Emotion in Art & Poetry Grade Level: Elementary through middle school (written for 4th)
My stated objectives are directly related to my district’s Visual Arts Content Standards and Benchmarks; however, the lesson could easily be used to meet objectives in other subject areas as well. I wrote the lesson with a 4th grade art class in mind, but it really could be appropriate for 2nd-6th grade students.
Be introduced to famous works of art and begin to discuss the artist’s work.
Understand that art is influenced by artists, designers, and cultures.
Know that their choices in art are shaped by their own culture and society
Understand that the visual arts express ideas that cannot be expressed by words alone.
Understand that creating and looking at art can bring out a variety of feelings.
Use art to understand and reflect their own emotions.
Write about feelings in a work of art.
Make connections between art and other disciplines (i.e. literature).
Visual resources-posters, slides, or books of Van Gogh paintings
Display and discuss several paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. Choose some that clearly portray someone who appears sad or lonely. Include at least one self-portrait if possible. Talk about how the artist shows emotion. Help the students notice the colors and brush strokes and how they help reveal the subject’s mood. Discuss any other images in the paintings that might give clues about the artist’s state of mind.
Talk about Van Gogh’s depression, despair, and hopelessness and how his artwork was not received well by his father or society. Discuss his feelings and what was going on in his life and their influence on his artwork.
Discuss the feelings of "sadness" and "loneliness". Allow the students to talk about times that they felt sad or lonely.
Have students write similes and metaphors for sadness and loneliness. Then brainstorm a list together as a class that can be referenced later.
Loneliness is as stagnant as an algae-covered pond.
Sadness is as gray as a rain cloud.
Loneliness is a fog spreading over a field.
Sadness is a far-off train whistle.
Select one Van Gogh piece that shows someone who looks sad or lonely. Have students write poems about the character in the painting. Encourage the use of simile and/or metaphor for the emotions of the person in the artwork. Allow students to select from the brainstormed list if they choose, but the should also create some similes and metaphors of their own. The poems should not be lengthy. Later the students will be writing them onto their artworks.
The students will use oil pastels to create a drawing that depicts sadness or loneliness. Their artwork may be a portrait, scene, or abstract lines and shapes—whatever they feel will best represent the mood. The artwork may be an extension of the Van Gogh example or illustrate a time when the student felt sad or lonely.
The students will incorporate their edited poem into their drawing. The words might flow throughout the picture or be spoken by a character. Perhaps the poem may be written around a frame surrounding the artwork. Encourage the students to think about unity when they add the words. The placement and style of their lettering should reflect the style of their artwork.
Younger students who may have trouble with simile and metaphor could write an acrostic poem using the word SADNESS or LONELY or LONELINESS.
make me cry
Younger students could also try a W-poem. The W stands for who, what, where, when, and why. The students ask themselves questions about what is happening in the artwork you have presented. Each line of their poem answers the questions.
A lonely man (who is the subject?)
Stands staring (what is happening?)
Across a pond (where does it happen?)
After the race has ended (when did it happen?)
Feeling lost (why did it happen?)
Older students who finish the regular lesson early could also try the acrostic or W-poem.
Do students recognize and remember the work of Vincent Van Gogh?
Are students able to express ideas and feelings through poetry and drawing?
Do students understand the connection between visual art and literature?
INTERACTIVE ACROSTIC POEMS: This is a tool for elementary students (good for middle school, too) to explore poetry in an interactive format. Students will choose a theme, then brainstorm up to eight words for their topic. As they click forward through the exercise, the acrostic generator offers suggestions for each letter of their chosen theme word to start them off. A printable version is offered when the students are satisfied with their final copies. (recommended by Riverdeep Newsletter)
More ideas integrating Poetry
Acrostic Poem with student's name or name of artist. Character traits could be brought in with this lesson. Write letters vertically - then expand
Busy as a bee
That also includes meaning of the name Deborah (means Bee and Honest). It can also include character education words.
Many of Romare Bearden's paintings have song titles - you could find lyrics for them
Five Senses Poems - shared by Dougie
The five senses poem would be a good one to write looking at Bearden's work. Many of his works appeal all of the senses. You will find many Five Senses works listed in Artcyclopedia, too (older still life mainly).
Found Poetry: Poem made up from headlines cut from the newspaper? Students could glue their "Found Poetry" to drawing paper and illustrate around it. The text becomes part of the composition.
My husband did a unit on Protest Poetry (Found Poetry). He used lyrics from songs (mainly from 60s and 70s). This unit was for high school. Student did very well with that unit - came up with some great social comment poetry. Of course, he played the music while students worked. These could be illustrated with photographs - Barbara Kruger style.
Suggestions from Denise Pannell:
Two years in a row, we had an artist poet in residence work with our students. Some of her ideas included:
* "I am" poems- For example: I am a chocolate chip cookie, fresh from the oven, with a huge bite taken out of me. Keep adding new "I am" lines.
* Pocket Poems- using an item that fits in your pocket, draw a picture of that item and write a poem from its perspective.
* "Dear" poems. For example: Dear washing machine, where is my brother? From the red sock.
* Paint chip poems- give the students a paint chip from the hardware store (cut them apart) and have them work the unusual color names in to a poem.
* As a class, they can do "Trade" poems. One person starts by saying, "I will trade my straight brown hair for Katie's golden locks that wave like maize in a field" Then, Katie does her trade, etc.
* Exquisite corpse poems. http://www.exquisitecorpse.com/definition.html (Archive) We did this for a poetry night.
* Poems made from words cut from magazines collaged together.
I guess the ideas our poet in residence had were to reinforce that poetry does not have to be boring or rhyme to be successful.
Suggestion by Linda Kieling:
There is a lesson in this month's Scholastic Art (March 2006) that connects Frankenthaler with use of color as a means to express emotions. Although a much longer unit, you could condense to feelings associated with warm colors? feelings associated with cool? use Tissue paper to collage with diluted glue or acrylic medium and then an inspired poem written directly on it.
Recommended Books (by Linda Keiling)
Some good books on this "Celebrate America in Poetry and Art",
"Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by 20th Century American Art", "Activities for Creating Pictures and Poetry", and "Voices Poetry and Art from Around the World"