As an adolescent, my favorite part of English was always the unit on poetry. I found the impossible language of Shakespeare and the soothing words of Robert Frost similar to a difficult puzzle that I was trying to solve. These words were something I wanted to understand more clearly. In finding this deeper understanding, I could compare them to what I was feeling and similar experiences I may have had in my own life. I longed for the emotional connection and found that there were many poems that I read that validated my feelings. I loved to create this connection through the writing and reading of poetry, and have discovered a similar interest in many of my students. I find poetic words and phrases in their sketchbooks, written on their arms and textbook covers. It seems there are many adolescents who connect to poetry and its emotion, its passion and its mystery. Poetry reflects their sometime tumultuous lives. By linking both poetry and emotion and sound and the senses, I hope to inspire students to create both poetry and art that are also connected.
I am a Visual Art teacher for grades five through eight in an arts magnet middle school in New Haven. Our school is an inter-district magnet school, which means we serve many neighboring cities and towns, as well as New Haven. As a result, we have an extremely diverse population of students. Our school offers each student a rich arts curriculum, which includes an art emphasis class. Emphasis classes meet twice per week. The class serves as the students' main area of artistic study for the school year. I appreciate and foster the diversity I see in each of my students, and am inspired by the individual voices, styles and experiences that they bring to their pieces of art. I am hoping that through the teaching of this unit, I will encourage the poetic expression of their voice through art and poetry, both metaphorically and literally.
In this unit, I plan to connect poetry and art in a variety of interesting ways. I will use rhythm, a principle of art that generally creates visual patterns in a work of art to connect to the sound of rhythm in poetry. I will also use a connection of the senses, or Synethesia, to further saturate students in both poetry and visual art. A connection will be made for the students between verbal and visual patterns, and students will truly experience a unique connection to these senses and also the connection made between these senses.