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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Gem of an Illustration!

Here's an integrated arts project that is good if you have only a bit of time, but you're looking to create a display or short poetry book. I designed it with middle school students in mind and it is meant to be done in two class periods (give or take)...you know your students best, so adjust accordingly.

The writing:
With this project, students create diamante poems about two very different things. For my example, my son and I chose to write a poem about school versus vacation (we're on spring break now and loving it!). A diamante poem is a great way to write about two contrasting things and the poem actually is in a diamond shape when you are done. It doesn't take long to write a diamante poem and www.ReadWriteThink.org has a diamante poem interactive you can use with your students (flash required) and it will prompt them through the writing if it. Or you can use more traditional means such a a worksheet.

Diamante poems are also a good test of your students' ability to recognize and use proper word choice and parts of speech since there is a particular format students need to use when creating a diamante poem. ReadWriteThink also has a rubric for the writing portion of the lesson.

Once your students create their poems, you can print directly from ReadWriteThink (or you can have them type it up in word or handwrite the poems). I printed ours out from the ReadWriteThink site.


The illustrating:
Then have your students brainstorm about ways they could illustrate the first concept of their poems--in our case, it's "School Days." Then, have them brainstorm ways they could illustrate the final thought of their poem, again, in our case it is "Vacation." For time's sake, I'm was thinking abstract, maybe bringing in abstract artists and color field artists would be a great tie to this lesson. I also wanted the artwork to be dry (not water-based) so students could create and didn't have to wait for watercolors to dry...although, if I had more time, I would love to have students create their own papers for this using tempera paint or watercolors.

Give each student an 8" square piece of white construction paper (I chose that size because I knew the finished piece would fit in my laminator and I wanted to make a book with the final illustrated poems, but you can choose any size you wish).

Have the students fold their square in half, open it up, and turn the paper so that the fold is the "horizon line." Have students use collage techniques such as tearing, cutting, layering and gluing papers to create two very different "feeling" backgrounds abstractly illustrating the two contrasting concepts from their poems.

In our case, we glued rows and rows of text that had little editing marks on them in the dreaded "red pen" of the editor. This is because both my son and I have been focusing a lot on writing and editing lately in our schoolwork. For the lower portion of our background, we ripped and glued layers of paper to look like waves and a beach because we'd rather be there right now! I then broke the rules I bit and added some torn paper clouds to the upper portion. I think I'll add a kite, too, later...Anyway, lastly, we glued down our poem. The diamond shape of the poem works well to cut the background in half.

Make sure your students title their poems--ours is "School Daze," and write "written and illustrated by:" with their names somewhere on the piece...I didn't, sorry!

Ta-da! You are done. Great for a bulletin board display or a class book of poetry.

ENJOY!

And thank you to Steph I. at Plymouth State University for being the inspiration for this project! :-)

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