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Word Wonders

Your literature is about to become enlightened with this artistic interpretation of phrases taken directly from the text! Students are challenged to not only visually express a saying, but quiz each other to describe the literary interpretation!

  • Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • 30 Minutes or Less
  • Directions

    1. When engaged in a literature unit focused on authors such as William Shakespeare whose work hails from the late 16th century, the writer's self-expressive style can cause student comprehension to nose dive. This can happen also when reading the 'flowery' language of poetry. Inspire students to analyze unfamiliar phrases by using their artistic abilities to unlock understanding.
    2. Request that students make a list of phrases that initiate class discussion while reading such works as Romeo & Juliet, for example. When an appropriate number of examples have been gathered, distribute sheets of construction paper measuring 9" x 12" (23 cm x 31 cm).
    3. Students write a different phrase along the bottom edge of a piece of construction paper using Crayola Ultra-Clean Markers. For darker colored paper, phrases can be written on a lighter strip of paper and glued along the bottom edge using a Crayola Glue Stick. This background paper can be as ornate or simple as the student chooses, but should allow space, perhaps inside an interesting border, for the phrase paper to be set onto.
    4. Next, provide students with smaller pieces of construction paper, perhaps 6" x 9 " (16 cm x 23 cm). Students interpret one of the phrases on each piece of paper. Encourage students to express the phrases in their own unique way.
    5. After several phrases and pictures have been completed, students can challenge each other, individually, in small groups or as a class activity, to place the correct phrase paper on the background paper; this sets the tone of discussion as they refer back to previous class discussions about the literary piece under study. Students attempt to match the visual interpretation to the phrase. No answer is necessarily wrong, if the student can provide reasoning to back his/her idea up.
    6. This is a great springboard activity for students to not only debate each other with their views and interpretations, but also one where everyone can shine in the visual contribution that they made!
  • Standards

    LA: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

    LA: Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

    LA: Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

    VA: Combine concepts collaboratively to generate innovative ideas for creating art.

    VA: Apply methods to overcome creative blocks.

    VA: Collaboratively shape an artistic investigation of an aspect of present day life using a contemporary practice of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    Create similar activity but instead of it being based on interpretation of phrases taken from literature, have each student create a picture piece of one attribute about themselves; challenge class to match a random picture to a classmate.

    Create similar activity but instead of it being based on interpretation of phrases taken from literature, have each student create a picture about a scientific fact; challenge students to group these ideas by category. For example, drawings could include, cloud, sky, rain and the category could be a phrase paper listing meteorology. The challenge is not only for the kids to stretch their imaginations to visually interpret non-art content, but also to interpret another persons interpretation of different ideas.

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