Students within Ms. Wolf’s English II class studied poetry in depth while creating unique, multimedia presentations of the poetry they researched. Each student selected a poem and then illustrated the poem with a variety of mixed media including glass, paper, paint, animal skulls, and more. Ms. Wolf states, “Our students are visual learners. I thought they would connect more to the poems if they could create a visual representation of the ideas.”
Students first did a unit on poetry in which they learned how to explicate (dissect and analyze) poems. Each student then chose his/her own poet and wrote a biography of that person. Each student then chose a specific poem to explicate that was written by the chosen poet. After the poem explication process, each student created an artboard to represent some aspect (or all) of his/her chosen poem. The artboard had to contain at least one line of the poem (although it could have the entire poem written on it) and also had to be three-dimensional in some way. Each student then wrote another paragraph explaining why the particular poem was chosen and how the art piece specifically represented the poem.
Students connected deeply with their poems. Some students did not realize they could consider themselves to be “artists” — they thought they had to be taking a formal art class. The Poetry Project allowed students to express themselves in authentic ways while still meeting the writing standards for the unit.
Ms. Wolf continues, “I love watching students draw their own personal connections with the poems and their own lives. I also enjoy witnessing the organic process of working with raw materials (bones, buttons, paint, feathers, glass, etc.) to create original, inspiring art pieces.”