Lesson 6: Art and Poetry


Activity 1: Couplets

Materials: My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States by Lee Bennett Hopkins, colored pencils
Reread "Boulder, Colorado" and "Skier." These poems are created with two couplets. Couplets are stanzas made up of two lines. On the "Couplets" page, write a poem that contains two couplets with your town and state as the title and the subject of the poem. Follow the rhyming pattern of "Boulder, Colorado."
Student Activity Page
Check to see that your child has written two couplets that follow the same rhyming pattern as the poem "Boulder, Colorado," in the poetry book My America.

Activity 2: America the Beautiful

The poem "For Purple Mountains' Majesty" is a reference to a patriotic song called "America the Beautiful." As with poems, you use quotation marks when you write the titles of songs. In all titles, you capitalize the first and last words as well as most other words. Articles ("a," "an," "the") as well as short conjunctions (like "and," "or," "but"), and prepositions (like "in," "to," "for") are lowercased.

Read over the song lyrics on the activity page provided. Many popular songs and poems reflect the relationships that exist between people and their environments. The song "America the Beautiful" reads like a poem. Many poems can be turned into songs, and many songs can be read as poetry. Songs and poems follow similar structures and often include rhyming words. If you can play an instrument, play "America the Beautiful" and practice singing it. If you do not know the song, ask your parent to sing it to you, or find a recording online.

Write down the words to your favorite song. Decide where the lines should begin and end if the song were to be read as poetry. Does it sound like a poem when it is read aloud?
Student Activity Page
If your child does not know the song "America the Beautiful" take some time to teach it to her or find a recording online that she can listen to.

Activity 3: Art and Poetry

Materials: My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States by Lee Bennett Hopkins, R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet by Judy Young, paints or pastels
My America uses beautiful artwork to enhance the lovely language of the poems in the story. The artwork reflects the words and images of the poems. Look at the illustration that accompanies the poem "Behind the Redwood Curtain." In the painting, the bird is flying from behind a subtle curtain in the woods.

Write a poem using one of the patterns described in the book, R is for Rhyme, and accompany your poem with an illustration. Select a medium for your artwork: watercolors, tempera paints, or even pastels (anything other than markers, crayons, or colored pencils).
Encourage your child to share her artwork and poem. Display it in a prominent place.