4th graders Explore Art in Chicago

As we get closer to the end of our residency, I wanted to have a fun lesson for 4th graders. Since, they love to draw, for their 9th week, we learned about Ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrastic poetry is poetry that is inspired by art, such as drawings, sculptures, paintings, or photographs.

Together we read the poem” Sky,” by Thaddeus H. a former 6th grader from Shoesmith Elementary. Thaddeus wrote a poem about a mural created by artist Ryan Tova Katz, located in the South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park. The mural shows a young girl standing a later to reach the brick wall, while she holds a paint brush. Thaddeus created a poetic story to interpret what he saw in the mural. I paint the clouds/I paint the birds/ and I watch as it comes to life/a mini sky on my back wall. 

4th graders were shown murals from different neighborhoods in Chicago, such as Bronzeville, Rogers Park, Ukrainian Village, Pilsen, Lakeview, and Wicker Park. Each student chose one neighborhood mural to write a poem about.

So, readers, grab a map and take a tour of Chicago’s wonderful artwork and poems.



Ms. Williams 4th Grade
Group 1


Cool Moose (South Loop)
By Gio E.

I see a moose blowing a bubble gum.
I also see that the background is the color blue.

I see clouds around him.
There are rocks behind him.

The moose also has big horns.
The moose is from Chicago.


The Monster (Rogers Park)
By Erick G.

I am sleeping in the bed.
On the side there is a monster.

The monster jumped scared me.
The monster is my friend.



Ms. Hayes 4th Grade
Group 2


Mr. Moose (South Loop)
By Jayden A.

Mr. Moose hops over a yard.
Mr. Moose loves his gum.
He loves his gum so much
that he made a balloon
of gum.


Flower Girl Dress (Uptown)
By Jaylah F.

Her hair is so long.
Her dress is designed
like a flower.

She is surrounded by flowers.
Her dress is blue.

Come and see me,
if you don’t believe me.


The Breakdancer (Hyde Park)
By Nicholas L.

I see the guy dancing.
I notice some beautiful colors
I can see some windows.
I see a sun with a circle around it.
I see a shadow in window.




Ms. Soldat 4th Grade
Group 3


The Astronaut (Bucktown)
By Adam L.

An astronaut rides a bike.
The astronaut has an ocean.
The astronaut has an oxygen tank.
The astronaut has a helmet.


By Julian M.

An astronaut riding a bike.
A guy is standing next to it.
He’s going to the moon.

The Moose That Popped the Gum, (South Loop)
By Sean S.

The moose is blowing
the pink bubble.

He lives in the forest,
but he got the gum
at the store.

When the bubble pops,
it goes all on his face.

Now the moose is sad.


Ms. Carther 4th Grade
Group 4


By Anthony C.

Mid birds
Mid planes
Mid trees
Mid colors
Mid breeze
Mid bridge

The planes are pretty cool.
I like the colors.
because they’re cool.
The bridge is painted.
Birds are the coolest
because I love it.


By Ricardo F.

Pilson is a butterfly
and human.

It is a nice place to go visit.
It may not be many.
But it’s cool.


Underwater Astronaut (Bucktown) 
By Diego O.

I see an astronaut underwater.
I see the astronaut with a big bag,
And a man next to the astronaut.
And I see drawings on the back.
What I think is in the bag is a
oxygen tank.



Chicago artwork that inspired student’s poems below: 






Hyde Park








Rogers Park



South Loop







“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.