Learning with Landmarks: A Lesson on Poetry and Art

Learning with Landmarks is back with Dr. Patricia Garcia and her English course, Literary Study for the High School Teacher of English. Designed to encourage the next generation of high school English teachers to incorporate art appreciation into their future classrooms, the group engaged in a collaborative poetry project at the James Turrell Skyspace, The Color Inside.

The class was encouraged to experience the Skyspace from multiples viewpoints before they wrote down words or phrases spurred by the mood and environment on index cards. The cards were scattered around the Skyspace floor. Dr. Garcia read aloud another poem inspired by the Skyspace, Words to Wordlessness by H.L. Hix. Affected by the space and with Hix’s words fresh on their minds, each student penned a short poem using words and phrases written by a classmate.

Brave volunteers read their creations aloud. With only 5 minutes of writing time, the poems were lyrical and expressive. Themes ranged from serious to silly with religion and pop culture most prevalent. Dr. Garcia read her poem and deftly taught the invaluable lesson of being open and willing to share in your classroom will in turn encourage openness in your students. She had rescued the orphaned index cards with words like “yolk” and “hungry” and wrote a few amusing lines that concluded the lesson on a light and pleasant note.

Garcia explained that a great literacy teacher not only teaches the mechanics of reading words and comprehending texts, but he or she also teaches young minds how to read the world around them. Art helps you do just that.