My teaching partner, Debbie Greco, and I assign our seniors a "Poetry to Art" project. The link is to a Google doc, so feel free to use the project or components of it.
I first became inspired by a display of art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson by the artist Leslie Dill, who uses Dickinson's words as inspiration for her sculptures. I've lost track of the details and images of the MET exhibit, but Dill's website I Heard a Voice: The Art of Leslie Dill has equally inspiring images of the artist's works. I really like the allusion to Dickinson's "I Heard a Fly Buzz when I Died" in Dill's website's name.
Debbie found the Cube Creator at Read Write Think, and we had our students choose the "Create Your Own" option. Even though we gave them step-by-step instructions, many students struggled with the assignment at first. As with most teachers, we struggle to make space for creativity with our ever narrowing curriculum.
Once the kids got the hang of the cube, many decided to decorate it, too, although this was not one of the requirements.
On the handout I included several images of art I found on the internet, just to give kids an inspirational boost. Debbie and I both created "art" last trimester just to get a feel for the assignment.
The heart of the unit, and the assignment that really helped students hone in on the poem's subtext, is the "rewrite." In my class, I wrote my poem in front of the class, which I often do for essays, too. I am uncomfortable writing original poetry, so it's really good for kids to see me sweating it out as I write. My original poem is "Eating Poetry" by Mark Strand.
We also asked the students to create a "Museum Placard" for their poem, and gave them freedom to get creative with this task, too. Here's my placard. I gave students a copy to use as a model and walked them through my process and thinking in writing it.
|Ludo's Poetry to Art|
In each class, we spent two days presenting the students' work. We followed this procedure:
1. Read the original published poem.
2. Discuss the poem, using the cube information.
3. Show your art to the class.
4. Present your original poem.
Overall, students did a fabulous job, although a few have yet to finish the art piece. Even so, I heard some fabulous poems, a couple of which I'll share.
Melissa used Margaret Atwood's" Backdrop Addresses Cowboy" as her inspiration. First, here's Atwood's poem:
"Backdrop Addresses Cowboy"
|Melissa's Poetry to Art|