Topic: Poetry

4th Grade, Art & Literacy Curriculum Set





Through this project, students learn and understand the connection between the visual and written word. Inspired by Shel Silverstein’s poems in, ‘Don’t Blump the Glump”, student artists create a visual poem and accompanying  illustration about themselves and their monster helper.   

© info: Doodles Academy presents both public domain artworks and works that are protected by copyright in their videos and lessons. The latter are used in accordance with fair use principle, as the images are only being used for educational purposes. If you are the copyright holder of the work of art used for and do not agree that the use of your image is a fair use, please contact us by email.





Colored pencils, pencils, eraser, fine-tipped permanent marker, pens, notecards, lined paper, scissors, glue-sticks, *thick paper 

Optional: Timer (see lesson 1)

*e.g., cardstock, white construction paper. Stay away from anything smaller than 11×14” paper.

Suggestion: have bins for each table or section that contain the materials and simply add the new materials needed for each lesson. Assign a student artist the job of passing materials out after the ‘CFU’ part of the lesson. Baby wipes are handy to clean hands after the oil pastel lesson.


-Lesson 1: Don’t Blump the Glump’ by Shel Silverstein

-Lesson 2: Collection of poetry by Shel Silverstein, such as ‘A Light in the Attic’, ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’., or ‘Falling Up’

-Lesson 3: Computers/printer


 Monster Poetry Brainstorm,  1 per student

Calligram Handout, 1 per student

– Optional: List of figurative words for students to reference (see lesson 2, anticipated problems)

– Optional: Proportions handout, (see lesson 4, photocopies)

– Optional: Artist statement (see lesson 5,  early finishers)

Suggestion: For the first lesson, students will be working at stations with the above handouts. You do not have to make one copy per student—students can share copies of the packets and the book. Alternatively, all those documents come as a PDF and can easily be loaded onto iPads if your school has the technology.



Text Set:

Text Sets support all learners, especially those with background knowledge or vocabulary deficits, by building up these domains through a volume of reading on Science, Social Studies, and other high interest topics. You can learn more about building and using text sets here. 

The texts listed below have been pulled from,, El Education modules, and resources referenced in text sets from based on their connection to the topics addressed in this lesson.  Texts listed are at a variety of reading levels and could be read aloud or printed/provided for students to read, depending on the needs of the readers in your classroom. These texts are not integrated into the lessons; they are an optional extension, and listed here as a reference for educators interested in building their student’s background knowledge around the project’s core topic. 

ISBN/Website  Title  Author Type
9780064409599 Love That Dog  by Sharon Creech Fiction/poetry/Book
0329708880 A River of Words  by Jen Bryant  Non-fiction/Biography/Book
9780763660918 A Voice of Her Own: The Story ofPhillis Wheatley, Slave Poet By  Katherine Lasky, Non-fiction/Biography/Book
9780590418867 Arroz con Leche: Popular Songs andRhymes from Latin America By Jorge Argueta Fiction/poems/book
9780763660703 Jump Back, Paul: The Life andPoems of Paul Laurence Dunbar By Sally Derby Non-fiction/book
9780805091984 Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People By Monica Brown Non-fiction/book
0060271744 Moon, Have you Met My Mother?  By Karla Kuskin Fiction/poems/book Kids find a voice in poetry and learn about writers that came before them By Washington Post, adapted by Newsela staff Non-fiction/article Finding metaphors in hit songs and poems By, adapted by Newsela staff Non-fiction/article Cuban-America poet Margarita Engle revisits Cuba with her writing By Washington Post, adapted by Newsela staff Non-fiction/article Many Syrians who suffered through years of civil war turn pain into poetry By Los Angeles Times, adapted by Newsela staff Non-fiction/article New African-American history museum inspires new look at famous poem By, adapted by Newsela staff Non-fiction/article


Tier 2 (academic vocabulary) words appear in many different contexts and are often subtle or precise ways to say relatively simple things, for example “relative” or “accumulate”. We’ve determined several rich Tier 2 vocabulary used in this lesson by analyzing the language used in the project’s video lessons through Achieve the Core’s ‘Academic Word Finder’. Vocabulary instruction is critical for students as they develop reading, writing, and oral language skills.  We recommend supporting students’ understanding of these words by using them in conversation, reinforcing them in discussion, and encouraging student use of new words, More information is available here.  

Access the full file, with definitions, here. 

  • Text
  • Illustrate
  • Image
  • Portrait
  • Visual
  • Pressure
  • Phrase
  • Detail
  • Shape
  • Feature



Tier 3 words are vocabulary words that address specific content in the lessons, or are related to the Visual Arts. Tier 3 words are central to building knowledge and conceptual understanding within the various academic domains should be used and reinforced throughout the teaching of these lessons.

  • Imagery 
  • Portrait
  • Self-portrait
  • Emphasis






RL.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. 

(Lesson 2: identifying ‘imagery’ in poetry )

RL.4.7 Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text. 

(Lesson 1: translating heard poems into drawings by listening for descriptive words & phrases

Lesson 5: looking at examples of visual poetry, in the inspiration image looking at a visual poem and hearing it recited)


SL.4.1b Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

(Lessons 1,2,4,5: discussing the inspiration image, 

Lessons 1-5: student artwork presentations)  

SL.4.1c Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others. 

SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace. 

SL.4.5 Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. 

(Lessons 1-5: student artwork presentations)


W.4.1d Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.W.5.1d Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

(Lesson 5: writing an artist statement)

W.4.2d Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.  

 (Lesson 2: brainstorming ‘imagery’ to describe their monster, Lesson 3: Creating a poem using the imagery they brainstormed, Lesson 5: choosing )



  • Mathematics
Extend the ‘proportion’ section during the self-portrait drawing. If the lesson is adapted so that students are learning how to partition their body into equal sized pieces (see the ‘advanced’ handout for lesson 4), math standards 3.NF.1 & 3.NF.3 would apply to this lesson. 
  • Music
Poetry used to be oral, and often sung, rather than written down. Look up some examples of sung poetry, or have students practice ‘singing’ a poem and see how it changes as students repeat it (e.g., musical ‘telephone’)
  • Language Arts 
Directly connect to a poetry unit. 

EL Education

EL Education ( ) is an open-source literacy curriculum. 

This art project supports the ideas and learning in the following EL Education Modules:

Module 1b

Poetry, Biography and Writer’s Identity

Students launch the year by exploring the identity of writers through reading, discussing, and writing about poems and poets. They begin by reading and analyzing the novel Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. Students learn about the characteristics of poetry by closely reading famous poems featured in the novel. For their performance task, students select a poet to research further. Then they write an original poem inspired by their poet’s work, and read informational text in order to write a biographical essay about their poet’s life. 



Anchor Standard 7: Perceive and analyze artistic work

VA:Re.7.2.4a: Analyze components in visual imagery that convey messages. 

(Lessons 1,2,4,5: discussing the inspiration image) 

Anchor Standard 9: Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.

VA:Re9.1.4a: Apply one set of criteria to evaluate more than one work of art.

( Lesson 1-5, Student Artwork presentations)




proportion/scale, emphasis

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