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On a Starry Night Poetry Frame

Show off poetry by framing it in original art based on a masterpiece. Create special effects and add drama to writing!

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. In advance, adults prepare enough large, varied cardboard frames for everyone in the class. Cut out an area in each frame for student writing to show through. The outside part of the frame should be large enough for students to add their graphic art. Save cardboard scraps.
    2. Students select a masterpiece that inspires them. Research the artist that created the artwork and investigate the inspiration for the work. Let students know that they will be creating their own art inspired by the self-selected masterpieces. They will also be expected to compose a poem or free verse to accompany the artwork. This can be accomplished using Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils.
    3. Choose a frame. Write the final poetry on lined paper in a format that fills the open space of the frame. Trim the edges to fit. Set the writing aside.
    4. Sketch the masterpiece on the frame. Focus on basic shapes because details will be covered with paint. Cover the painting area with newspaper.
    5. Paint several layers with Crayola Tempera Paints, air-drying the paint between each layer. Refer to a color wheel to choose analogous colors for added interest.
    6. Mix a Crayola Tempera Mixing Medium into the paint as desired. For areas with deep dimension, mix equal amounts of Texture It! and paint. Similarly, mix equal amounts of Pearl It! or Glitter It! with paint to achieve those effects. Experiment with combinations to create unique looks. Air-dry paint between layers.
    7. In the final layer of paint, students add details. Coat with Mixing Medium if desired. Air-dry the painting.
    8. Glue cardboard scraps on the back of the painting around the open area to create added dimension between the frame and the writing. Glue the edges of the written material and place into the opening. Air-dry the glue.
    9. Together, decide how to display the group’s work. Include reproductions of the inspirational art. Provide writing materials near the display to encourage viewers to add their own feelings and thoughts about the exhibit.
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    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.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context.

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

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: van Gogh and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt; Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters by Mary Ann F. Kohl; Jackson Pollock by Mike Venezia; Frida Kahlo: The Artist who Painted Herself by Margaret Frith; The Usborne Book of Famous Paintings by Rosie Dickens

    Encourage adults preparing templates for frames to use recycled cardboard for templates.

    Students work individually to research the background and career of a self-selected artist. Students select one masterpiece to interpret on their frames. Students write a summary paragraph describing their artist selection, as well as the masterpiece that they are interpreting. The summary paragraph will accompany the frame when displayed in the classroom.

    Students work in small groups to compare and contrast the work of various well-known artists from the same time period.


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