Picasso Poems:
An Integrated Study in Art, Music, and Poetry

Presentation for the 16th Annual Conference on Literature and Literacy for Children and Adolescents:
Literature and Light: The Power to Connect
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
3 March 2007

Rochelle Thomson, 5th-grade Classroom Teacher, and Tracy Lynn Ross, Art Instructor, Gale Elementary School, Tucson Unified School District
and Judi Moreillon, Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Information Resources and Library Science

Alberto's Tropical Trumpet

In this unit of study, educators collaborated to integrate literature, art, and music. The resulting student work is titled: Picasso Poems.

To integrate literature, creative writing, music, and art in the language arts curriculum
To integrate technology into the literature curriculum
To provide students with more individualized and quality instruction through classroom-library-art studio collaboration

An art instructor, a 5th-grade classroom teacher, and a teacher-librarian will share a collaborative unit of study in which students composed artwork and poetry while studying Picasso's "Three Musicians" painting and exploring the lives and work of jazz musicians through children's literature and music. Participants will create artwork in the style of Picasso and compose jazz-inspired poems. A collaborative lesson plan, graphic organizers, and an annotated bibliography of children's literature, including poetry, and jazz music tie-ins will be provided.

Lesson Plan: Classroom-Library-Art Studio Collaboration

Focusing Question: What do our poems and paintings "say" about music?

To integrate literature, music, poetry writing, and art
To practice word choice, ideas, and voice

Students will hear and see patterns in poetry, music, and visual art.
Students will identify and use poetic devices, especially onomatopoeia, similes, and alliteration.
Students will follow the writing process.
Students will create art in the style of Picasso and use it as a writing prompt.

Arizona State Standards:
Language Arts: Writing
Students effectively use written language for a variety of purposes and with a variety of audiences.
Six Traits of Writing - focus on voice, word choice, and ideas
* idea development, focus, details (Ideas)
* author's voice, purpose, consideration of audience, tone and style (Voice)
* precise language and phrasing (Word Choice)

Visual Art: Art in Context
Students demonstrate how interrelated conditions (social, economic, political, time and place) influence and give meaning to the development and reception of thought, ideas and concepts in the arts. (FAV2-E1)
* apply subjects, themes or symbols from various cultural or historical contexts to their art work that will communicate their intended meanings
* compare and contrast the values and aesthetics of their own work and the historic or cultural work with similar meanings

Before and throughout the study
* Rochelle will read selections from the jazz text set and invite students to respond.
* Rochelle will teach and review poetic devices: alliteration, onomatopoeia, similes and metaphors.

November 3
* Judi and Rochelle will lead the students in reading Jazz Cats (David/Galey). What do students notice about poetry? What are its connections to music? How do poets make their poems musical? (with word choice - poetic devices)
* While listening to jazz music, Judi play the audiotape of Charlie Parker played be bop (Raschka). Discuss the connections between the words and Parker's music. Judi will read poems from the jazz text set. Judi and Rochelle will continue this discussion with students. Teach/review poetic devices.

November 13
* Judi and Rochelle will share the project with students. Create a class web of instruments, possible musicians (Big Daddy/Mama, Bro', Sister, Pops, Satchmo…), sounds, colors, and shapes used in their illustrations. Play jazz music from the jazz text set.
* Teach jazz vocabulary: bebop, riffs, lines, notes, beats, phrases. Add musical words to our class web.

November 15
* Tracy will teach the art lesson. Students will compose paintings based on Picasso's "Three Musicians."
* Tracy will select exemplary work for the Web site.

November 21
* Rochelle and Judi will model using the class web as a foundation for creating an individual jazz poem category web (pdf file).
* Compose a shared writing poem.
* Students will compose their poems based on their own artwork.

December 2006
* Judi and Rochelle will provide writing conferences as needed.
* Students will keyboard their poems and complete the checklist.

January - February 2007
* Tracy will take digital photos of students' artwork.
* Students will revise their poems.
* Students will keyboard poems.
* Collaborate with teacher-librarian Cathie Fox. Students create a PowerPoint presentation by importing the photos and copying and pasting the poems from students' individual files.
* Burn a CD-ROM.

PDF Files to Support this Unit of Study:

Annotated Bibliography of Jazz Literature, Music, and Multimedia Resources: A Topical Text Set (pdf file)

Jazz Poem Category Web (pdf file)

Picasso Artwork and Jazz Poems: Checklist (pdf file)

Artwork Directions for Three Muscians Painting (pdf file)

A variation of this unit of instruction is found in Judi Moreillon's book: Collaborative Strategies for Teaching Reading Comprehension: Maximizing Your Impact, available from ALA Edition, April, 2007.

Rochelle's Email: Rochelle.Thomson@tusd1.org
Tracy's Email: tlross3@yahoo.com
Judi's Email: storypower@theriver.com

Updated: 21 February 2007
Judi Moreillon's Home Page