A few weeks ago, the fourth graders and I read A Poem for Peter, written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. You can read about the read aloud experience here. Seeing how moved the students were, I decided to turn it into a project about biographies and poetry.
The students began by exploring the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation webpage.
They read about Ezra Jack Keats, they listened to people talking about the influence of his books, they explored the neighborhoods of and characters in his books. Embedded in the lesson was information on biographies and where and how to find them in our library.
Using A Poem for Peter for inspiration, the students used the information they gathered and their memories from the book to write poems about Ezra Jack Keats. This lesson also included a refresher on a few commons styles and forms of poetry. Having the dictionaries and thesauri in plain sight encouraged the students to dig a little deeper for juicy words.
The students decided how to illustrate the final draft of their poem. They could choose from collage, water color pencils, colored pencils, crayons, and markers.
I will post the finished poems next week!