Monday, November 24, 2008


We've concluded our Literary Graffiti activities. Remember to tag your photos on Flickr with "literary graffiti activitiy Gatsby, "literary graffiti activity Frost" or "literary graffiti activity Sandburg," so that we can find one another's pictures.  When you find your classmates' pictures, provide high quality comments. 

Here are some print resources if you would like to continue your studies:


Carl Sandburg's Poetry

Cover art usually accompanies novels, but what if individual poems could also have cover art? Let's look at Carl Sandburg's poems.

Choose one of Carl Sandburg's poems from the list on Poetry Foundation:

How could you represent the main ideas of this poem in a drawing?

Use Literary Graffiti to create "cover art" for the poem.

Example of what it might look like:

Here is a larger version of the picture on Flickr.


There is a collection of cover art for Carl Sandburg found here, a discography of his musical works. What do the covers suggest about Carl Sandburg?

Learn more about Carl Sandburg from one the best resources for poetry on the web: Modern American Poetry.

Robert Frost's Imagery

Robert Frost uses simple nature imagery in his poems.  However, these "simple" images do not mean the poems are simplistic.  Let's look at his poems.  

Choose a poem from the list on Poetry Foundation.

Use Literary Graffiti to draw the dominant images in the poem, and then give your interpretation of these images.

Example of what it might look like:

Here is a larger version of the picuture on Flickr. 


What do the critics have to say about Frost's poems? Compare your interpretations with those of critics at Modern American Poetry

Visit The Friends of Robert Frost website for student tutorials and more.  The images in Frost's poetry evoke a strong sense of place, and this website has an interesting page about all the places Frost lived.  

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is notable for its symbolism. A symbol is "something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign," according to's entry for symbol. Read about three prominent symbols: the green light, the valley of ashes, and the eyes of doctor T.J. Eckleburg. These three symbols are material objects used to convey abstract concepts. Can you think of any other symbolic objects in The Great Gatsby? Can you draw the objects and explain their symbolism using Literary Graffiti?

Here is what it might look like:

Here is a larger version of the picture on Flickr. 


Can you think of any other connections between the symbol you chose and other themes? Are there various symbols in the novel that can be tied to one theme? Use the webbing tool interactive to help think about these connections. 

Want to hear what other students have to say about symbolism in The Great Gatsby? Check out the symbolism blog page.

We all visualize the imagery in The Great Gatsby differently. How close does the movie adaptation match how you imagined the story? 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Literary Graffiti and Instructions

We will be using Literary Graffiti for the next few activties. Literary Graffiti is an interactive that allows you to draw pictures with a paint tool and to write about the images in a writing prompt. You will need the shockwave player to use the interactive. It can be downloaded from readwritethink's technical support page.  

You'll get two printer options on the first page of the interactive: black and white printer and color printer.   The only way the interactive allows you to save your work is by printing, so you'll want to choose the appropriate option.  However, there is another way to save your work without printing if you have the necessary tools. If you are using Windows Vista, you can use the snipping tool in the accessories folder to "snip," or rather take a picture of, your work. If you have a Mac, there is a similar screen capture tool available. There are also other screen capture tools that you can downloaded free-of-charge from

Once you have taken a picture of your work, upload it to Flickr to share with the rest of the class. If you had to print your work, scan it and then upload it to Flickr. I will provide examples of work posted to Flickr in the next few posts. Each of your pictures on Flickr should be tagged either "literary graffiti activity Gatsby," literary graffiti activity Frost," or literary graffiti activity Sandburg" (don't forget the quotation marks) so that we can easily find one another's works online.