Arts Integration

Solar System Dance

Students spent weeks researching, using hands-on activities, and writing to understand solar system concepts. They used what they learned in class to create a solar system dance.


Mrs. Goodman's class dance is about the seasons including Earth's revolution and its tilt.


Mrs. Molina's class dance is about the moon phases.

Picture Writing

Reading with an Artist's Eye

First, we read picture books and observed and discussed the paintings from expert illustrators.


Students practiced watercolor wet-on-wet technique to blend the colors of twilight.

We read Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher and looked for examples of personification. Students took notes in their writing journals and discussed how the author's language made the story come to life.

Click on the link to the left for the reading of this great book.

Reading with an author's eye

Crayon and watercolor

Students started the writing process by painting a scene of a time of day with a strong groundline and reflection on the land and water from the sky. They used various professional illustrations as models. They also observed their own paintings as they looked at them on easels at their desks (as professionals would).


Students started by brainstorming about the important parts on a chart in their journals. Then, they wrote their poems and edited and revised to add stronger verbs, adjectives, adverbs, similes, metaphors, and personification.

Author's Share

After students typed their poems and we laminated their paintings to the back, they took turns reading their poems out loud with expression and pacing. Students had a great time giving their positive input to their peers!


The flaming sun wants to slip into bed,

It wants to escape into dreamland for what seems like seconds.

The lakes and streams are like mirrors,

Making sure to copy, reflect the earth’s every move

While the clouds are like puffs of whipped cream on a beautiful ice cream sundae.

Finally the hills are like slides on the earth’s surface

forgotten about although still catching the sun’s last rays

before he goes into dreamland...

Written by,


Student Reflection

Writing Reflection

When we were doing our sunset poems it was fun, because we got to help other people with their poem. All the other poems were unique because so many other people had so many great ideas. During painting the poems I really enjoyed that we got some really good influence from books and stories. It was interesting that we got to have our own ideas about our paints and poems. I was really happy that my friends were really supportive about my poem and painting so I did the same.


Teacher reflection

This past summer, I spent time looking for an effective way to engage our students, reluctant and eager, through arts integration with writing. Our district has adopted a strong writing program--Lucy Calkins. However, since we, at SR Charter School for the Arts, have a unique mission to use the arts to delve deeper into curriculum, I took the opportunity to read Picture Writing by Beth Olshansky. This book inspired me to START with paintings to tell our stories. Why paintings? They are rich with detail and force students to use descriptive language in their own writing. Through my short journey (so far) with picture writing, I have seen two fifth-grade classes thoroughly engaged in their writing and end up with powerful poetry.

Next, we're launching into outer space with solar system stories--the picture writing way! Look for professional classroom published books soon!

--Mrs. Goodman




Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.

Production and Distribution of Writing:


With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.



Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.


Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.

Visual Art


Responding to, Analyzing, and Making Judgments About Works in the Visual Arts

Students analyze, assess, and derive meaning from works of art, including their own, according to the elements of art, the principles of design, and aesthetic qualities.