Grade 7/8 Writing Assignment
One of the writing assignments in our grade 7/8 class involves writing two descriptions of the same painting, with each description having a different organizational principle.
This year, the students were shown John Waterhouse's "Jason and Medea". They are told the story behind the picture, and then discuss various ways one could describe the painting. Two ways immediately suggest themselves: a description that begins in the background and moves to the foreground and a description that emphasizes the contrast between the two main figures in the painting. The students then write two descriptions of the painting. This assignment allows for creativity within some fairly limited boundaries, and it makes them think about how they will organize their material before they jump into writing.