I know a man, like a child
He loves to paint
He can paint anything he sets his heart to.
He knows that to have anything he loves
He can have it fair and forever
If he paints a picture of it.
He knows that to face anything that hurts he can do it.
Transform the sorrow if he paints a picture of it.
This is how he lives. This is what he does.
Pass out copies of the above poem, featured in the beginning of the film, and read it aloud as a class. The first four words serve as the film’s title, and the themes relate to the Essential Question about aging. Ask students what they think the poem tells us about Ashley Bryan. Why does he love to paint?
Have students make a list of some of their own interests and favorite activities. (Ex: sports, art forms, social activities, school subjects)
Students should pick one item from their list, and write a new list of reasons why they love that interest. Encourage them to think deeply and creatively. For example, instead of saying riding a bike is “fun,” they could say “Biking makes me feel free” or “I like challenging myself to climb steep hills.” If students get stuck, consider supplying a list of sentence starters related to liking an activity. (Ex: It makes me feel _____, It helps me ______, I do it with _____, It has taught me _____)
Each student will use their list to write a ten-line poem about their activity, inspired by The Artist. They can use their reasons to inform their writing, need not worry about rhyme, and can write in third person, as Bryan does. Below is an optional template. Tip: Have students write a first draft and practice reading it to a partner. They should make edits based on how the poem sounds aloud, and then write a final draft.
___________________ by ___________________
I know a _____________________________
(description of themselves)
He/she loves ______________________
One line about how they like to do the activity
Three lines about why they like the activity
(Including how the activity makes them feel)
Two lines about how they hope to do the activity in the future
This is how he/she ______.
This is what he/she ______.
Arts Extension: Once poems are written, students can illustrate their final draft with drawings, colorful borders, or collages.