“The students really enjoyed the part about comparing poetry and songs. They started turning their poem into spoken word with a beat. My favorite part was the pride they took in their completed project – they felt connected to artists and poets as they completed their own work of art.”
Ms. Headrick

ELA/Social Studies Teacher, Beaverdam Elementary Raleigh, NC


LEARNING: In this project, students learn and understand the connection between the visual and written word. In particular, they read and examine poetry, and learn how the concepts of ‘imagery’ & ‘emphasis’ can be explored in both written and visual form.

CREATING:  Inspired by Shel Silverstein’s poems in,‘Don’t Blump the Glump”, student artists brainstorm a monster ‘helper’, describe it through descriptive and/or figurative language and ‘imagery’, create a poem about their monster, and use basic proportions as they draw a self-portrait with their monster. They end by altering their poem to enhance the meaning through visual emphasis.

CONNECTING: This project is part of our ‘Art & Literacy Curriculum’. You are welcome to use it independently, and it is easily adaptable to use across multiple grades. However, it was designed to support the topic ‘poetry’, which is often found in 4th grade ELA curricula. Text sets and vocab are pulled for 4th grade students.

Scope & Sequence:

Lesson 1: SW learn about the connection between descriptive words/phrases and visual imagery by participating in a drawing exercise & discussion using the poetry of Shel Silverstein.

Lesson 2: SW learn about imagery, and how it helps readers imagine with their senses. They then brainstorm their own personal monster “helper”, describing it through four senses, and create monster trading cards with their monster’s attributes.

Lesson 3: SW work on creating and typing a poem about their monster.

Lesson 4: SW work on creating an illustrated page of their poetry. Today, students learn the basic proportions of a human body, and draw a self-portrait of themselves standing next to their monster.

(optional): Optional 2nd day for portraits 

Lesson 5: SW learn about how poets often consider the way their poems look as much as they consider how they sound. Students will put their poem underneath their illustration using a combination of collage, alteration, and letter manipulation to enhance the meaning of their poem. 

(optional): Final day to work on and complete project with colored pencils.

(you can preview the first lesson in a project without enrolling by clicking on ‘lesson 1’ above).


The above will take you to a supply list that assumes a class size of 30. Adjust according to your needs. 
The above will take you to a list of core texts, as well as a text set. More information is included in the link. 
List of Tier 2 & 3 vocabulary

Art Elements:


Art Principles: 

proportion/scale, emphasis



RL.4.1, RL.4.7, SL.4.1b, SL.4.1c, SL.4.4, SL.4.5, W.4.1d, W.4.2d


VA:Re.7.2.4a, VA:Re9.1.4a

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Navigation tip: when you first go through the project, you must hit the 'mark complete' button, at the bottom of the page, to unlock the next lesson. After 'mark complete' has been hit, you've unlocked that lesson, and you can then use the sidebar to easily click to different lessons within the project (helpful if you are working through the project with more than one class).

Why do I need to hit mark complete? Certain lessons have email triggers (such as teaching tips when there is a painting lesson), and this helps us know when to send them. It also helps us track completion rates.

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