As part of the Poetry unit in Grade 4 Writers' Workshop, we have been looking at different ways to generate poetry. One was to use visible thinking routines as 'recipes for poetry'. I chose a routine called Looking 10x2, which we used with 2 paintings of Van Gogh, The Church at Auvers and Cafe Terrace at Night.
Students are already familiar with Van Gogh's work from a previous unit on Visual Arts and therefore found it very easy to engage with 2 new paintings.
The Looking 10 x 2 routine looked like this for us .
A most interesting and valuable moment happened towards the end of our shared writing, when students had to come up with questions to close up the poem. Questions varied greatly, and each question lent a completely different feeling and message to the poem. We had chosen to write about The Church at Auvers. The questions students came up with stretched from "Is there any hope left?" to "May we enter?" to "When will we see the darn sun again?" to "Is this my home?" to "I wonder where God is?", etc. We couldn't settle for one.
What I really appreciated was the fact that each students' individual personality and voice transcended the writing. They made personal connections, they enlarged minimalistic details and gave them maximal meanings, and overall they submerged themselves in poetry and painting with enthusiasm. Using this routine, the students were able to create meaningful poetry, while thinking deeply about a work of art. They were able to look at a painting and see it from a poet's point of view. This was an entirely new experience for them and it allowed them to find deeper meaning in the art they were analysing, while at the same time engaging in an act of creation themselves, of an entirely different nature, using their words and ideas, instead of brushes, paint and colours. Enjoy some of their writing below!