The Living Edens Madagascar-A World Apart Classroom Resources

Painted Pictures of an Evolutionary Paradise: How do you paint pictures with words?

Grade level: 3-6

Subject: Language Arts, Art, Music

Estimated Time of Completion:

2-3 class sessions beyond the viewing of  “The Living Edens: Madagascar”

I. Objectives
II. Tools and Materials Needed

III. Standards

IV. Procedures and Activities

V. Assessment Suggestions

VI. Extensions/Adaptations

VII. Web Resources

I. Instructional Objectives

By the end of this activity, students will be able to:

  • Examine elements of style, including word choice, tone, voice and sentence variation, and look at their effect on the reader/listener
  • Organize writing to convey a specific idea
  • Demonstrate comprehension of a variety of phrases by paraphrasing content of selection, identifying important ideas and providing details for each important idea through words or art
  • Create descriptive sentences that contain imagery

II. Tools and Materials Needed

  • Copy of the program The Living Edens: Madagascar
  • VCR with pause capabilities
  • paper and pencil
  • worksheet (available online)
  • drawing/painting materials if desired

III. Standards

This lesson correlates to the following national Language Arts standards for grades 3-6 as established by The Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory at

  • Evaluates own and others' writing (e.g., identifies the best features of a piece of writing, determines how own writing achieves its purposes, asks for feedback, responds to classmates' writing)
  • Writes expressive compositions (e.g., expresses ideas, reflections, and observations; uses an individual, authentic voice; uses narrative strategies, relevant details, and ideas that enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience)
  • Uses descriptive language that clarifies and enhances ideas

IV. Procedures and Activities:

  1. Session 1: Students view the video, The Living Edens: Madagascar, listening for phrases that paint pictures in their minds as they listen. After viewing the video, a class list is generated and students take turns describing what personal meaning the words have for them.
  2. Session 2: Choose one of the descriptions from the worksheet [link to activity sheet] to discuss in detail in class. Students talk about the pictures that come to mind or draw pictures that show what they’re thinking as they hear phrases such as "roots to the sky," "ultimate fortress" or "towering pinnacles." Students use the worksheet and answer the questions, with either words or pictures. They then share their products in small groups or with the class.
  3. Session 3: Students choose something they have seen in nature, at the zoo, or on the Living Edens Web site to write about, using descriptive phrases to "put pictures in the minds" of their readers.

V. Assessment Recommendations

  • Look at the writings the students have done. Students could share their work with the class.
  • If pictures were done on day 2, these could be displayed on a bulletin board.
  • Put students in groups of two or three. Writings from the students could be exchanged and each student could then paraphrase what s/he read to show their understanding. They could also draw pictures of each other's writings to compare the pictures the imagery creates.

VI. Extensions/Adaptations

  • Listen to classical music and have students draw or paint to it. Then, compare the ability of words and music to “put pictures in your mind.”
  • Read other poetry and have students describe the types of pictures that come to mind.
  • Compare different types of figurative language—similes, metaphors, etc.


VII. Web Resources
(Note: these links will take you away from PBS Online.)


Glossary of Poetic Terms

Poetic Terms

Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum's new National Poetry Contest

Creative Writing For Kids

KidzPage! Poetry and Verse for Children of All Ages

Poetry For Kids

Poetry Links

| Notes from the Field | Creature Features | Paradise in Peril | Classroom Resources
Did You Know... | Related Links | Screen Saver | Eden Evolution | Madagascar Credits