Lesson 6: Art and Poetry

Getting Started

Today you will explore poems that reflect the culture and geography of the Mountain states and the Pacific Coast states. We often refer to these regions as the West. The West has a variety of habitats and has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.

Stuff You Need

  • My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet by Judy Young
  • colored pencils
  • paints or pastels

Ideas to Think About

  • What is the relationship between illustrations and poems in illustrated poetry books?
  • What techniques do poets use to make their poems more interesting and effective?
  • How do poets influence the emotions and thoughts of the reader?

Things to Know

  • Songs and poems follow many of the same patterns.
  • Art can include visual art, drama, music, and writing.
  • The titles of poems, songs, and short stories are enclosed in quotation marks.
  • In the title of a poem, song, or work of art, the first and last words are capitalized as are most other words. Articles ("a," "an," "the") as well as short conjunctions (like "and," "or," "but"), and prepositions (like "in," "to," "for") are lowercased.
  • A couplet is a two-line stanza.


  • Use concrete sensory details in writing. (LA)
  • Describe structural differences of various forms of writing. (LA)
  • Write the names of poems, short stories, and musical compositions in quotation marks. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

Tell your child that today she will read poems about states in the West. Ask her what she knows about this region.
Reading and Questions
Materials: My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States by Lee Bennett Hopkins
In My America, read the poem in the sections, "The Mountain States" and "The Pacific Coast States," which all deal with the West. Next, answer the questions below.
  1. What was your favorite poem from this section? Why?
    Answers will vary.
  2. What did you learn about the culture and geography of the West after reading the poems?
    Answers will vary.
  3. Record the simile in the poem, "Skier."
    He swings down like the flourish of a pen / Signing a signature in white on white.
  4. Which poem creates the most vivid image in your mind? Describe what you see when you read the poem.
    Answers will vary.
  5. The mood of a piece of writing refers to the tone of the writing and how it makes the reader feel. What do you feel when you read the poem "Alaska"?
    Answers will vary.