Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rocks and poetry

Well, this was a super cool lesson and I have to thank New City Arts for the great idea! Definitely check out her blog. I even used her student examples on my handout to show my kids the haiku and free verse poetry that we were trying out. I started by asking teachers for rocks to borrow, because the only ones I had were kinda boring. Little did I know, we had so many rock collecting teachers!
We used a range of shading pencils to complete a 7-part value scale, then set to work with our sketches and poems. Many kids asked, "Can I trace my rock?" which sparked a great conversation about drawing three-dimensionally versus a "footprint" drawing. Students used at least 4 of the values in the final drawing, along with a cast shadow.
The poems are so expressive - as we sketched, we jotted down descriptive words on our worksheet and even added a little personification by noting what our rock's mood or personality would be like. Some are serious and deep, while others are funny and light.
At the end of class, when most were finishing up, we watched an interesting 5 minute video from the TV show "How It's Made" about graphite pencils - it's attached at the bottom of the post. This is definitely a keeper lesson and a great start to the year.


  1. This is a great lesson Hope. The addition of the You Tube clip is very helpful, thank you.

  2. Love this lesson! I am going to try this with my 5th grades when we do form/value at the end of September! It has so much! Form, value, science connection(video on how to make pencils) which after seeing it gives you an appreciation for what goes into making one! and a Language Arts connection! Kudos for sharing! Thank you! :) This is a keeper! :)

  3. Brilliant lesson! I believe I will be trying it out next!

  4. I remember seeing this on New City and loving it then. Your kids did a terrific job!!

  5. Fabulous. What an interesting way to teach value, form, observation drawing...and I LOVE the poems. Thanks for posting.

  6. fantastic! I love the literary tie in. Those poems are awesome:)


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