National Poetry Month: Art Talk Strategy Application

Strategy: Art Talk
Audience: Upper elementary students and families, teachers
Participants: This activity is for three to eight people

Art Talk Strategy Card. Show an image and let students reflect on what they notice. Ask students to choose a word or phrase to describe the image or a part of it. Invite students to share their word. Ask open-ended questions to help students verbalize their interpretations. Encourage multiple viewpoints.

Observation Challenge: Look deeply at the image below.

Painting of a drainage tunnel that has bright green plants at the front and on the other end of the tunnel is a sunny, green wooded area.

Answer these questions to start to think deeply about this image:

  • What do you see? What shapes, colors, lines?
  • How does this image make you feel?
  • What does this image remind you of?


  1. Art talk the image above using the directions on the strategy card.
  2. Write down a word that represents the main idea of this image.
  3. When finished, all participants should trade words with someone else.
  4. Once each participant has a new word, use that word to create a sentence about the image. This sentence can be literal or it can be a metaphor. 
  5. When everyone is finished take three to five minutes to arrange your sentences in an order that makes sense to the group. This part should be fun and playful. Sometimes you can do it with the sentences face down to relieve tension around decision-making. This is your poem about the image.
  6. Read this poem out loud.


  • What stands out to you about this poem? Words, mood, anything that surprised you?
  • Has the poem affected the way you view the image?

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