Dragons, Babies, and Collages... Oh My!

Time sure crawls when you are not having fun.

Okay, so there has been some great fun in my life since I last blogged, but the past 14 weeks were miserably filled with a temporary but good hardship of nausea. Yep, you have guessed correctly: I am happy to announce that our family will be having a third (and final) baby towards the end of July. With all my pregnancies comes great morning all-waking-hour sickness. So, I am glad to be back in the art world writing about my classroom and what is going on rather than camping out on my couch feeling sorry for myself. {Seriously, my couch has a booty indent on it from me sitting so much on it!}

The first poem was about a dragon who felt conflicted about being a "fire breathing" dragon.

The first poem was about a dragon who felt conflicted about being a "fire breathing" dragon.

As a Language Arts teacher, I love the challenge of using engaging poems within my content units. Last year, I put together a section of a mini-unit, which my collaboration group was working on, for our legends & mythology unit. The mini-unit topic was on dragons and how they are portrayed in folklore. I knew I wanted to use collage within the project, but wasn't sure how to make the connection from reading & writing to creating the actual collage.

The second poem was about a dragon of death who killed, pillaged, and destroyed

The second poem was about a dragon of death who killed, pillaged, and destroyed

Then came the idea of pulling in the literary term of character, symbolism, and descriptive words (adjectives, baby!) and how they are portrayed through an author's words and an artist's images. One of my collaboration partners/teachers found three very different dragon poems, from Jack Prelutsky, which each had a certain feel/mood about them.

The last poem was on the topic of dragons being whimsical and singing a chorus.

The last poem was on the topic of dragons being whimsical and singing a chorus.

As you can see the three dragon poems were drastically different and would yield three different types of collages. It was a 3-4 day event of defining challenging vocabulary words within the poems, discussing the poems in small groups, and then creating the collages. There were lessons as well, which dealt with the terms of symbolism, adjectives, and character.

We even added a "Defend Your Collage" activity page for them to tell why their collage embodies the poem they were assigned. {Yahoo! Adding a written reflection piece to their work hits another state standard.}

Any person can use a poem for this collage project and pull in what literary/writing terms you need to cover. That is the beauty of this lesson. It is very flexible and can cover a lot of learning standards which teachers have to meet within their content area.

Overall, my students really enjoyed this project and produced great collages. I am quite pleased at how this mini-unit went and relieved that I am no longer "green around the gills" like some of the dragons my class read about.

Written by My Art to Inspire Guest Contributor: Shirini