Writing Poetry Through Art (1-6)  


The snow fell softly through the night

It made a blanket soft and white.

It covered houses, trees and ground

It didn’t make a single sound.”

Author Unknown

  Part 2 - Winter Cinquains

Goals/Objectives:  To introduce students to writing poetry that correlates with individually created student artwork.  Students were exposed through language arts that poetry is words that are put together to convey an idea or thought about a subject.  Exposure to some poetry becomes essential to students learning about what their task will be.  Many students assume poetry consists of rhyming words. This exercise helps them to understand language better and how they may use it for writing their thoughts.

Procedures:  Creating artwork, learning about nouns, adjectives, and verbs, then successfully creating a poem by use of a formula: 

  A winter landscape with tempera paints:

If available read the story The Snow Speaks.  Have the students create a winter landscape of leafless trees and bushes on a gray snowy day.

Materials needed for art lesson:  12 X 18 drawing paper (80 lb) or heavy manila paper; brown oil pastels or brown crayon for drawing trees, hills, and moon or sun; thinned tempera paints in white and bluish gray; set up a station with a tooth brush for splattering “snow” on their winter scene using their thumb to flick paint onto the page. (A simple window screen stretched over a frame helps to splatter paint onto picture to prevent large blobs from falling on the page.) If available, visuals of winter landscape scenes to inspire drawing trees (fronts of holiday greeting cards work well.)


Poetry Lesson:  With first graders the cinquain “recipes” were discussed as well as the concept of nouns, adjectives and verbs.  In a group session the students created a word bank on three separate pages for these categories.  Three different colors were used to make the word banks so when the time came to follow the “recipe” (even the little ones understand the concept of following the recipe (as opposed to “formula”), the students could easily choose words from the appropriate word bank list (it was called the “mixing bowl” for this lesson) to create their poem.

A cinquain is a five-line, unrhymed poem

Cinquain “recipe”or formula

Line 1- 1 noun                 1 word from the yellow sheet

Line 2- 2 adjectives        2 words from the green sheet

Line 3 –3 verbs               3 words from the blue sheet that 

                                         show action (ending all the same 

                                         such  as “s,” “ed,” or “ing.”)

Line 4-                            4 words that give a thought about 

                                        the  noun in line 1

Line 5-                            a synonym for line 1,   1 word 

                                        that  means the same as the word (or 

                                        at  least relates to the word in line 1)


Carlstrom, N. (1992).  The snow speaks.  New York: Little, Brown and Company.


Neamen, M. & Strong, M. (1993).  Writing through children’s and young adult

            literature.  Englewood, CO: Teacher Ideas Press.


Evaluation of poetry lesson:  The artwork was a great springboard for thinking of words for the bank.  This was the student’s first writing experience in poetry.  The toughest part was getting them to do the fourth line where they had to create a phrase that went with their subject matter.  Most caught right on and with parental and teacher guidance this was accomplished without too great a difficulty.  Students dictated their phrase and with assistance were able to write their thought. This could easily be adapted for grades 1-6.



See the World Wide Web site Snow Poems for inspiration:http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/1133/seasonalpoems/snow.html
















































Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating  poetry will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.