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Sky Art Haikus


I ran across a YouTube video from an art teacher, Darren Maltais, explaining how to use color gradients to make a night sky scene in Google slides. I liked how easy it was and started looking for a way to use it in the classroom. He has another video for sunrises but the idea is interchangeable. 

Since April is poetry month, I thought I could tie it into a writing activity and picked Haiku’s for the simplicity. 

I targeted third graders and approached a teacher friend to let me come in and try it with her group. It didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped but I did learn a lot! I made a video of the entire process if you want to check it out.

I naively thought we could do the entire project in one 90-minute ELA block. That includes all the tech components AND writing an original haiku. We should have broken it up into two parts: 1. Writing the haiku and 2. Adding in all the tech elements. 

To be fair students had only worked on haiku’s the day before and had very little time to practice. We quickly realized that they needed more modeling and practice in order to get them where we expected third graders to be. Students did GREAT following the 5-7-5 syllabic requirements of a haiku but they didn’t understand how to bring in the descriptive feeling language associated with poetry.

What students initially wrote was very basic: 

The sun is pretty.

The sun is warm and very hot.

The sunrise is cool.

The teacher and I stopped the lesson and had the class brainstorm some words, feelings, and activities associated with a sunrise or sunset in order to redirect the writing a bit. While the students were getting frustrated with having to rewrite their poems, we were much happier with the results!

On the tech end I decided it would be fun to put the student's silhouette on the page versus looking for a silhouette (which is what Mr. Maltais suggested...and to be fair that would have been easier). We started with taking a picture of each student on their device and posed them to be a silhouette in the final version (recoloring them in Google Slides). I had looked up "looking away" silhouettes on a Google image search to get some posing ideas. 

I had created a template in Google Slides for each child, which they opened from Google Classroom. We then picked the gradient colors to use as our background color. We used Adobe Color to find the color scheme as recommended by Mr. Maltais. As a group we recolored the Slides template with our Adobe color scheme. Once they were done, we had them insert a transparent grass silhouette.

When we were done students ran their "silhouette" image through the site to get rid of the background and inserted it onto the page recoloring it to "dark4" with the "recolor" formatting option in Google Slides to get the silhouette effect. 

At this point all the tech components were done and students just had to type their poem (in our case they had to make them). If you had time you could have students add a moon or sun to the page for a fun added effect. 

They turned out adorably! The teacher is planning to make a hallway display out of them.

If you attempt with your student, or on your own, I would love to see the poems. Please feel free to comment below or tag me on Twitter @atechcoachlife.  


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