I Am the Words and Pictures I Create

A lesson plan by Lambros Alex Pappas - Boston City Schools

This lesson plan was one of the winners in a lesson plan contest sponsored by TeachersFirst in 2002. TeachersFirst editors have added technology options where appropriate.

Subject: Fourth Grade Language Arts & Art


• To develop a format for a community service learning project.
• To make the student aware of the diverse ways people communicate.
• To encourage the student to examine and become aware of different "selves" (physical, environmental, creative, spiritual, and intellectual).


• Students will connect what they read and write with their experiences and the experiences of others. (Language Arts)
• Students will understand the structure of words and demonstrate a strong vocabulary. (Language Arts)
• Students will employ various formats and technologies to complete and enhance work. (Language Arts)
• Students will explore technology and various art media for visual literacy. (Art)
• Students will understand the sense of place (neighborhood, house, etc.) (Social Studies)


• Writing paper, pens, pencils, computer, printer, scanner
• Art materials such as paper, watercolors, markers, crayons, scissors, film and collage papers, collage and cutout work, and bookbinding materials.
• Alternatively, electronic tools can be used to facilitate composition and sharing of both writing and artwork. (See options in the Procedure section).


Common Core English Language Arts Standards » Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use » Grade 4, Standard L.4.4

Common Core English Language Arts Standards » Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use » Grade 4, Standard L.4.5

McRel Geography Standard 10, Level II, Benchmark 1


The fourth grade students write a two-paragraph essay, not less than four sentences per paragraph, on some aspect of his/her family or neighborhood. If possible, have students type this information on the computer (Word or Google Docs (reviewed here), may be best).

Following the standards in language arts, the student edits the composition by sharing it with his/her peers, parents, older siblings and friends.

The student illustrates the essay in a chosen medium. This could be done online using a program such as FlickrCC (reviewed here) or hand drawing and scanning the drawing.

This illustration is then shared with middle school students who, in turn, write a two-paragraph composition of not less than four sentences per paragraph, based on the illustration.

The middle school student essay is shared with the fourth grade author and illustrator, and both compositions are discussed and compared to determine the level of communication through the writing and drawing.

Both compositions and illustrations are bound in several volumes and contributed to the school and community library.

*Alternatively, the essays could be shared on a class wiki or via Google Docs (reviewed here) for peer editing. Then students could create illustrations using software or an online drawing or image program. Illustrations could be montages of digital photos taken by students, drawings, or even artwork scanned into electronic form. Find photos on FlickrCC (reviewed here). Students could create photomontages on PowerPoint slides or workBench screens.

The finished "volumes" could be shared as a PowerPoint presentation easily printable as a book, via an online wiki, a class blog (with room for comments), an online book created with Bookemon (reviewed here), or a TRintuition workBench project (reviewed here).

Learn more about these tools:

TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through - explains wikis and compares tool options.

TeachersFirst Blog Basics for the Classroom - explains blogs and compares tool options.

Bookemon (reviewed here) creates online (or printed--for a fee) books that can be seen via a web address (URL).

TRintuition workBench (reviewed here) creates online or downloadable web pages with rich visual tools to enhance text.

Online art/drawing tools:
 Sketchfu (reviewed here) and Tabblo (reviewed here)



Evaluation is based on a key question format used in the curriculum frameworks of the Boston Public Schools rating the written work as a 1,2,3,or 4 (4 being the highest). Guidelines developed by the Early Learning Literacy Initiative (ELLI) Project of Ohio State and implemented in New England by Leslie College. The illustrations follow the guidelines set by the National Standards for Arts Education. Teachers should locate the appropriate standards for their jurisdiction and develop a simple rubric for scoring the writing and artwork.