Students read Instructions to the Artist by Billy Collins before crafting their own portrait-inspired poems.
Lesson Note: According to findings by the leading researcher on the power of writing and journaling for healing purposes, James Pennebaker, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Austin, ‘…expressive writing occurs on multiple levels–cognitive, emotional, social, and biological–making a single explanatory theory unlikely. However, there is little doubt that writing has positive consequences.’
Ms. Hooper, 6th Grade
Make the background of this painting
Either a 14th-16th century European castle
Or an ancient Roman city.
I do not care what it looks like as long as it’s one of these two.
Oh wait, I forgot.
Make the sun in the middle of the sky so it’ll be noon in the painting
Make the sky very, very sunny.
But not too much, I still want some cumulus clouds in the sky at the top-right corner.
The canvas should be colossal and titanic.
As big as an Ice Age mammoth.
You know what? Add a baby mammoth sleeping next to me.
Mammoths are very fascinating. I want one in my painting.
Make my hair as brown as Belgian chocolate that was made using a secret
Recipe passed down by chocolate makers since 1549.
Would you also be a pal and do the same with my eyes?
Thank you in advance.
We’re almost done with all the instructions and directions.
I just want you to make me hold a shield with my coat-of-arms.
I KNOW I DON’T HAVE ONE MAKE ONE UP WHILE YOU PAINT YOU PLEBIAN!!!
And last but not least, may I have a velvet smoking jacket in your painting?
My eyes are as tired as a Malaysian mongoose.
The cold night breeze brushes against my neck.
My background is empty, just like my stomach.
The size of the canvas shall be as big as a redwood tree,
Touching the sky.
Make my mouth as moist as the ocean.
My teeth will be as green as a Turkish chameleon,
Gliding through the trees.
Ms. Walsh, 6th Grade
by Henry O.
My instructions for you to make my self-portrait are to forget everything I look like. Just make shrek with a beautiful chill face.
Just make shrek with brown eyes and an epic mustache.
Just make shrek breakdancing with a dinosaur in front of another Shrek. It represents me. It represents my mind.
Just make Shrek.
A Piece of Art
By Madison S.-R.
Think of the planets
That float around space.
Those round planets should
Represent my head.
My eyes should be
a nice dark brown color
That almost looks as black as night
But you can still see the tint of brown
Like a piece of gold in a dark cave
The canvas should be big enough
To see the world around me.
With the background filled with warm colors
That can make you feel warm inside yourself.
Instruction To The Artist
By Mariana R.
Make my face as round as a ball or a moon in the sky
The background should be colorful and creative like
a galaxy full of beautiful stars
My eyes should be as brown as a tree
Make the size of the canvas As big as a grass field
Ms. Collins, 6th Grade
My perfect canvas,
By Abraham C.
My perfect canvas has a head as round and gray
as the moon
on a dark night.
My portrait should be accurate and creative
Make my head as round as a
My facial features should include whatever
You see of me,
But make sure the nose, eyes, ears,
Mouth, cheeks, and eyebrows are
My body should be
as tall as a giraffe’s neck
With large limbs.
For the background,
Make a big city filled
With cars and a train zipping
Around, or just make anything
That comes to your 6-year-old mind.
Also, the buildings
Should be as high as
With a width to match.
The accessories could
Be anything you want,
But at least keep a hat on.