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Lesson Plan

Creative Communication Frames: Discovering Similarities between Writing and Art

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Creative Communication Frames: Discovering Similarities between Writing and Art

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Karen Eichler

Anacortes, Washington


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • demonstrate proficiency in using the writing process.

  • make connections between prior knowledge and new information using prewriting strategies.

  • write in response to a self-selected example of nonprint media, demonstrating an awareness of purpose, audience, voice, and style.

  • note relevant information using listening and visual literacy.

  • synthesize information in order to produce a piece of writing that demonstrates an understanding of comparison, analogy, and metaphor.

  • use a variety of technology and multi-media resources.

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Session One

  1. Display a print from one of the Impressionists (Monet, Renoir, Manet)—The painting could be selected from one of the virtual galleries found in the Resources section.

  2. In a large group brainstorming session, note and record details of what the students see at a distance. Select several students to study the painting closely, making verbal observations that are recorded.

  3. Repeat with several others viewing up close. Again in large group, discuss differences noted when painting is viewed closely. Discussion becomes more specific as students use the handout to record specific details.

  4. Discuss different perspectives from distant and close viewing.

  5. Now shift the discussion to identifying ways in which writing a scene or description is similar to painting:

    Author's Word Choice

    Artist's Brushstrokes, Color, and Medium Selected

    Author's Point of View

    Artist's Perspective

    Author's Purpose

    Artist's Purpose

    Author's Main Idea

    Artist's Subject

    Author's Setting-time, place

    Artist's period, time, place

  6. Use the Comparison and Contrast Guide to introduce basic characteristics and strategies for comparing items.

  7. List words writers use to help readers understand similarities and differences when two concepts are being compared. Small groups can develop word lists then combine into whole class working word bank. (Examples: compare, contrast, metaphor, analogy, alike, similar to). Work bank should be entered in students' journals for future reference, or transcribed to the computer and printed out.

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Session Two

  1. The class may be viewing a virtual museum or on a field trip to a local gallery.

  2. Ask students to use the "close, distant, close again" to examine pieces of art, and record their observations based on the terms identified in the previous session.

  3. After individuals or partners complete their viewing and analysis, meet as a whole group for debriefing, sharing what was observed.

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Session Three

  1. Discuss the art in general terms of analogy and metaphor. Seek examples of specific paintings and how they demonstrate communication of an idea or feelings. Develop a literary term for each of the terms used to analyze the art form.

    Title _________________
    Artist_________________ (Author)
    Time painting was done __________________(setting)
    Brushstrokes _______________ (words,genre,style)
    Lines ______________________ (style, form)
    Colors______________________ (word choice, style)
    Shadings ___________________ (inferences)
    Shadows ____________________ (inferences,opinion)
    Perspective _________________(point of view, bias)
    Focal Point _________________(point of view)
    Background __________________ (setting)
    Subject of painting _____________ (main idea)

  2. Discuss this as a prewriting framework. Talk through, verbally model, how these ideas can shape a discussion of art as a means of communication, comparing the similarities between writing and painting-both the artist and the author are portraying an idea, images, a story, and/or an opinion.

  3. The students will use this framework to express their thoughts about ways in which the process of writing is similar to the process of creating art, using the transitional, comparative vocabulary developed for the class word bank.

  4. Introduce the Compare & Contrast Map, and demonstrate how students can use the online graphic map to organize their ideas.

  5. Using examples from the nonprint media they have studied, and perhaps examples from literature, ask students to write a compare and contrast essay. Allow time for them to revise, edit, and type their essays.

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Impressionism was inspired by the music of Modest Petrovitch Moussorgsky who translated Russian literature into musical genres. Understanding of the similarities between the creative processes of composition—writing, art, and music—could be assessed through extended synthesis, after listening to Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" (Maurice Ravel's 1922 orchestration). Student responses could be noted through contributions to a large group discussion or reflective journal entries (written or drawn).

The students' written responses to the painting (or other art form) can be assessed with a rubric based on:

  • their use of transitional and comparative words (e.g. alike, similar to, close to, both, also, not only, therefore, consequently, next, in fact, still, besides, finally, furthermore, consequently).

  • their inclusion of literary terms applied to the non-print media (see previewing and prewriting handouts).

  • evidence of careful editing and proofreading.

Students could be given the option to demonstate their understanding by creating an original art form—computer generated, mixed media, musical piece or mix, etc.—accompanied by a written piece that could be used as a gallery print release about a "newly recognized artist". The written piece would address the artist's perspective/point of view; choice of media; purpose; focual point/main idea; and technique. These pieces could develop into a classroom or school exhibit—a form of publication.

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