Grades/Level: Middle School (6–8)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts
Time Required: Single Class Lesson
One to two class periods
Author: Barbara Zeig, Seventh Grade Teacher
Le Conte Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District

For the Classroom

Curriculum Home
Lesson Plans

Lesson Overview

Students will examine two paintings by Claude Monet, Still Life with Flowers and Fruit and Sunrise. They will apply their understanding of prepositions by writing poetry using prepositional phrases inspired by both paintings.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• participate in a class discussion about two paintings.
• describe works of art using various parts of speech (i.e., prepositions, nouns, and adjectives).
• write prepositional poems based on Monet's paintings.
• present poems to the class.


• Reproduction of Still Life with Flowers and Fruit by Claude Monet
• Reproduction of Sunrise by Claude Monet
• Pens and pencils
• Paper
• Student Handout: "Prepositional Phrases"

Lesson Steps

1. Display reproductions of Still Life with Flowers and Fruit and Sunrise by Claude Monet.

2. Have a class discussion on both paintings. Ask students about their initial observations.

3. After students have shared their impressions of the artworks, share the background information about the artwork for both paintings. Provide an opportunity for students to add additional comments based on the background information. Ask students if their initial impressions have changed.

4. Pass out paper and pencils to students.

5. Have students work in pairs to perform a quick-write on a piece of paper. Based on what they see, think, or feel from looking at the two paintings, ask students to write down as many nouns and adjectives as possible.

6. Next have students share their work with the class.

7. Review the definitions of prepositions and prepositional phrases in the "Prepositional Phrases" student handout.

8. Explain to students that prepositional phrases must include nouns.

9. Have students complete the exercise in the "Prepositional Phrases" student handout. Review the answers with the class.

10. Explain to students that they are going to use prepositional phrases to write poems based on the two paintings. Instruct them to write one poem based on each painting.

11. Share the following examples with students:

Still Life   Sunrise
Upon the table,   On the sea,
In the vase,   A sailor waits
Flowers bloom in my mind.   Beneath the stars.
Upon the table,   After the trip is done,
In the basket,   My heart aches
Fruit sweetens my dreams.   To return to the sea.

12. After students have finished writing their poems, have them do a pair/share and peer review with a partner. Ask them to edit their poems based on feedback from their partners.

13. After students have revised their poems, have them share their poems with the class.

Still Life with Flowers / Monet
Still Life with Flowers and Fruit, Claude Monet, 1869


Students will be assessed on their participation in class discussions about the artworks, their understanding of prepositional phrases, their writing of poems, and their participation in the review and oral presentation of their poems.


Students can visit the J. Paul Getty Museum on a field trip or visit the Getty website to view other paintings. Students can then write another prepositional poem based on a painting of their choice.

Standards Addressed

Common Core Standards for English Language Arts

Grades 6–8

Production and Distribution of Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Conventions of Standard English
1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Visual Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Grade 7
1.0 Artistic Expression
1.1 Describe the environment and selected works of art, using the elements of art and the principles of design.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing
4.2 Analyze the form (how a work of art looks) and content (what a work of art communicates) of works of art.

English–Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Grade 7
1.0 Writing Strategies
1.7 Revise writing to improve organization and word choice after checking the logic of the ideas and the precision of the vocabulary.

Written and Oral English Language Conventions
1.0 Written and Oral English Language Conventions
1.3 Identify all parts of speech and types of structure of sentences.
1.4 Demonstrate the mechanics of writing (e.g., quotation marks, commas at end of dependent clauses) and appropriate English usage (e.g., pronoun reference).
1.6 Use correct capitalization.

Listening and Speaking
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
1.6 Use speaking techniques, including voice modulation, inflection, tempo, enunciation, and eye contact, for effective presentations.

"As a result of writing this lesson plan, I realized how much I enjoy writing poetry. I only hope that my students will enjoy the lesson and expand on their poetry-writing abilities."
—Barbara Zeig