A painting in eleven words

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Slide 1: Tekstslide
Art and designEnglishPrimary EducationLower Secondary (Key Stage 3)

In deze les zitten 20 slides, met interactieve quiz en tekstslides.

time-iconLesduur is: 20 min


The students write eleven-word poems based on paintings by Vincent van Gogh.


General learning objectives
- The students will look at a painting by Vincent van Gogh and describe it in an eleven-word poem.

Materials required
- Writing materials
- A sheet of paper or a print-out of worksheet 'Eleven words' for each student

Optional variations
1. Write a group poem with the entire class before having them write individual poems. A sample poem is given for each painting.
2. Instead of having each student write a poem, you could compose all the poems together as a class.

Onderdelen in deze les

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

Story: This is a painting made by Vincent van Gogh when he lived in the city of Arles in southern France. Take a good look and memorize all the details you can.
Then count down from ten to one and proceed to the next slide.
The Yellow House (The Street), 1888
The Yellow House

Slide 2 - Woordweb

Ask the students to list all the objects and colours that they saw in the painting. To write the possibilities on the whiteboard, click the pencil icon on the menu.

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Display the slide, and have the students briefly identify objects and colours that were not in the word web.

yellow house
under blue sky
train crossing a bridge

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Then read this poem aloud. Ask questions like: - How many words are in the poem? (Eleven) - Does the poem mention things that are also in the word web? - How many words are in each line? (1-2-3-4-1)

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

Using the diagram in the slide, explain the form of the poem: 1 word, 2 words, 3 words, 4 words, 1 word.

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

Point out that the poem could easily have been about other things in the painting instead.

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

Ask the students what else they might put in the second line of the poem. Then show them the painting briefly one more time.

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

The Yellow House (The Street), 1888

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

Ask a few students what they would choose as the second line of the poem. You can fill in the blank boxes with possible answers by clicking the pencil icon on the menu.

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

Tell the students that they will be given paper or worksheets so that they can each write one or more eleven-word poems of their own. Then pass around the sheets of paper or worksheets.

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

Meanwhile, tell them they can choose from several of Vincent's paintings. Then show them the slides for each individual work. Each one includes a sample poem in the notes, which you can use however you wish.

Slide 12 - Tekstslide

large dish
hands holding forks
a woman pours coffee
(The Potato Eaters, 1885)

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

dark eyes
full orange beard
face filled with colours
(Self-Portrait as a Painter, 1887-1888)

Slide 14 - Tekstslide

two chairs
large yellow bed
the window barely open
(The bedroom, 1888)

Slide 15 - Tekstslide

sixteen flowers
green and yellow
brown hearts dry petals
(Sunflowers, 1889)

Slide 16 - Tekstslide

dark light
thousands of crows
over rustling yellow stalks
(Wheatfield with crows, 1890)

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

The Yellow House (The Street), 1888

Slide 18 - Tekstslide

Tell the students how much time they will have to write their poems: about five minutes.

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

While they write, leave this slide on the board for reference.
Who wants to read their poem to the class?

Slide 20 - Tekstslide

Finally, ask a few students to read their poems to the class. As they read, display the relevant painting on the board, or have the other students guess which painting the poem describes.