Title (subject, theme, etc.):
Poetry In Color: A cross-curricular lesson using writing and art
to depict the early 20th century.
Grade Level and Date:
Grade, date to be determined, 50 minute periods
Standards addressed and assessed:
Arts & Humanities 9.1.5.A – Know and use
the elements and principles of each art form to create works
in the arts and humanities.
Arts & Humanities 9.1.5.E – Know and demonstrate how
arts can communicate experiences, stories or emotions
through the production of works in the arts.
Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening 1.5.5.A –
Write with sharp, distinct focus identifying topic, task,
History 8.1.6.C. – Explain this fundamentals of
historical interpretation – multiple points of view.
Science & Technology 3.7.4.B – Select appropriate
instruments to study materials.
The goal of this lesson is to have students connect the life and
works of Georgia O’Keeffe to the period in American history that is
depicted in the book, Out of the Dust, written by Karen Hesse.
The students will understand the life of Georgia O’Keeffe and
observe her works of art. The students will write a free-verse poem
that depicts a visit by Billy Jo to one of O’Keeffe’s art displays
in New York City. The student will learn how to express a favorite
work of Georgia O’Keeffe’s using oil pastels. The free-verse poem
will be connected to their interpretation of O’Keeffe’s work.
The students will have just completed reading the 1998 Newbery
Award winning book, Out of the Dust. They will have an
understanding of events surrounding the period in United States
history of the early 20th Century.
Additionally, the student will have prior knowledge on a) the
procedures for using oil pastels to produce a work of art, b) using
technology to do research and investigation to gain a better
understanding of a topic.
To accommodate students with special needs, I will provide these
students with larger oil pastels so they can work easier with the
larger instruments. I will also provide these students with actual
examples of oil pastels so they can touch them and feel the texture
of the paper and the pastels. By providing the larger pastels, I
hope that these students will be better able to apply the pigment to
The students will write a free verse poem.
The students will review their prior knowledge of investigating
information using the World Wide Web to obtain an understanding of
the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe.
The students will interpret a Georgia O’Keeffe work and prepare
a drawing which represents a center of interest.
The students will integrate their understanding of the early
nineteenth century by writing a poem and drawing a picture that
represent the time period.
In lesson 1, we will review the information discussed during our
literature focus unit for Out of the Dust written by Karen
Hesse. We will discuss the period of time in United States History
relating to the draught of the 1920’s and the depression that
followed. The student will be asked to respond to their feelings on
how they can express themselves using Free Verse poetry. I will
introduce artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, to the students. We will explore
her works of art using samples that I will provide. The students
will be assigned to use their computer time for the day to explore
the life of Georgia O’Keeffe by reviewing two web-sites that provide
background on the artist. These sites are:
In lesson 2, I will engage the students in a grand conversation
about the information that they read about the life of Georgia
O’Keeffe. I will ask them to complete a character map for her. I
will discuss that we will be creating a free-verse poem that depicts
a day five years in the future when Billy Jo travels to New York
with her step-mother, Louise, and they visit a gallery that is
showing the works of Georgia O’Keeffe. The poem will be written from
Billy-Jo’s point-of-view. I will instruct the students that
they must choose one of O’Keefe’s works as the inspiration for their
free-verse poem. We will brainstorm ideas on what we might include
in the poem and the students will break up into their writing groups
to do a pre-writing activity. The students will pick one of
O’Keeffe’s works to use during their assignment.
In lesson 3, we will devote most of the period to review how to
work with oil pastels. I will provide oil pastels for each student
and we will explore how to use the oil pastels to create a line,
color and value in a piece of art. I will provide paper and ask
students to investigate how color families can be used to create the
value in their drawing. I will demonstrate the use of the color
families on the easel in the room. During this review, we will also,
continue our discussion of Georgia O’Keeffe. I will ask the student
to predict what they think the center of interest is in the works
that we review. Students will be asked to select a center of
interest that will be used to create their own interpretation of
O’Keeffe’s work that they chose. Students will be given time to
create the lines for this assignment. The students will begin
drafting their poem from the notes that they took during the
brainstorming in Lesson 2.
In lesson 4, the students will be allowed to choose what activity
the will work on during class. As an opening activity, I will read a
sample of my interpretation of the free-verse poem assignment and
show them the O’Keeffe work that I chose. Then, the students will
have the choice to continue drafting their free-verse poem or they
can begin to work on their oil pastels pictures. Students must be
prepared by the next lesson to be at the revise phase of writing.
The must be prepared to share their interpretation of O’Keeffe’s
work to make sure it coincides with what was written in the
In lesson 5, students will start in their writing groups. They
will receive comments about their poems as well as how it relates to
the picture they have chosen. Then, they will break up to work on
their oil pastels for the remainder of the lesson. Students must be
prepared by the next lesson to be at the editing phase of writing
and they must also be prepared to share an almost completed picture.
In lesson 6, students will start in their writing groups and
provide editing comments. Next, students will be encouraged spend
the remaining period of time completing their pictures. They must be
prepared to exhibit a completed picture and share their poem by the
In lesson 7, students will present their completed poems and
pictures. They will be on display in the schools exhibit area for
the next week.
Materials and Equipment
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse,
Pencils and paper
T-sticks and pencil sharpeners
Free Verse Poetry
Point of View
Center of Interest
Assessment and Evaluation
I will evaluate the student on the picture, poem and the work habits
exhibited during the project time for this lesson.
Representation of O’Keeffe’s work
were not clean and color families did not retained the color
are clean, but color families did not retain color values
are clean, and the use of color remains in families that
retained the color values.
not exhibit any understanding of free verse poetry
contains thoughts related to either the O’Keeffe work or the
contains thoughts about O’Keeffe’s work and represents the
work is messy or sloppy. It looks rushed.
the drawing or the poem is messy or sloppy.
assignments are completed neatly.
be redirected more than 5 times
be redirected 3-5 times
be redirected 0-2 times.
We will continue to reinforce the skills learned
with oil pastels by linking it to our next literature focus unit,
A View from Saturday,
Self-Assessment / Reflection
What were the strengths of the lesson?
What were the weaknesses of the lesson?
What additional accommodations can I make to reach all students?
What additional modifications need to be made for this lesson?