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Teaching Writing Through Landscape Paintings

When students focus on what they can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell in a work of art, their imaginations—and their essay-writing skills—take flight.

September 14, 2021 Updated September 15, 2021

Using landscape paintings, teacher Lori Brenneise turns essay writing into a fun activity. Every day, students build on their essays, guided by the five senses. 

Brenneise has used this activity across all grade levels. She describes it as an excellent way to introduce second and third graders to organizing their writing in paragraphs. She has also used it with middle- and high school students to encourage descriptive writing, and with English language learners as well—it helps “grow their vocabulary because it gives them reason to learn new words and helps them overcome their fear of writing in a second language.” 

Many large museums have landscapes and cityscapes available online. Or better yet, partner with a local art gallery to highlight regional artists.

You can read more about Brenneise’s exercise in her article for Edutopia, “How to Use Images to Teach Creative Writing.”

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  • Arts Integration
  • Creativity
  • English Language Arts
  • 3-5 Upper Elementary

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