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Night Along the Water

Poetry is inspired by students' impressionist artwork of night along the water.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to go on an imagination journey. Close your eyes and picture yourself by water's edge at night. Listen to a recording of ocean sounds or Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Play an ocean drum to set the mood. Challenge students to tap into their senses—what do you hear, feel, smell, and see? How does the moonlight fall? Imagine plant life, sky with moon and stars reflecting in the water, water lapping at a pier, animals stirring, boats rocking, and land forms (beaches, banks, rocky shore). Discussion to follow.
    2. Students will be creating a watercolor painting to represent their imaginative journey. Begin by covering work areas with recycled newspaper. With Crayola® Watercolor Paints, students sketch their scenes from imagination on watercolor paper. Encourage them to use color and lines to show movement. Create darker shades to depict shadows, and use lighter hues to show the shining moon. When painting is complete, allow time for paint to dry.
    3. In small groups, students describe their paintings and share imagined sensations of walking by water at night with classmates.
    4. With paintings displayed before them, students rekindle their creativity by writing poetry about the experience with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils.
    5. Provide time for students to share poems to classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

    LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Mary Cassatt: Impressionist Painter by Lois Harris; The Impressionists by Jean-Phillipe Chabbot; Impressionists For Kids edited by Margaret Hyde

    Prior to initiating the lesson plan, have students view several well-known art pieces done by impressionist painters. Have students describe what they are viewing and list adjectives that help with the descriptions. Post student lists during the class time that students are working in their original poetry.

    Students collaborate to edit and revise each other's original poetry. Publish and display poems with student artwork.

    While students are investigating the impressionist art, play a recording of nature sounds in the background to help set the stage for student creative experience.

    Organize a field trip to a local museum that has impressionist paintings. Prior to the trip. Students discuss what they will be looking for and focusing on during the trip. After the visit, students will return to the classroom and post learning to a class blog.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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