Nighthawks, Warhawks
To understand the connection between reading poetry and "reading" paintings, middle school students in Ms. Hartley's 7B language arts class made observations about Nighthawks by Edward Hopper using tools housed at the Google Art Project. Students zoomed into the artwork as a class, noting details, nuances, and techniques that the artist used to achieve an effect.
 
The excerpts below are products of the final task: to interpret and draw conclusions based on their observations about the painting in narrative form. 
 
- from the perspective of the Leonardo DaVinci magnetic finger puppet stuck to the ceiling near the projector -
-Rick Z.
      It was a late Saturday night; I was watching the Smart Board because that's where I was positioned. I saw this image of a bar: there was a bartender, a man sitting by himself, and a man and a woman sitting next to each other. I noticed that the man by the woman was staring at the bartender like they had a secret. So I remembered back to when the painting was made and I learned the story. The man just walked into the bar. He needed to talk with the bartender about their secret. There was a couple across the bar. He needed to kill time. He ordered a drink and pulled out his newspaper. I never did find out what happened after that so now I spend my days trying to figure out what happened in that painting.
 
My Side of the Story
Emma O.
 
    I’m still working in the same place wearing the same monkey suit and mumbling the same utterings I was ten years ago. Phillies bar was a great hang out, years ago. But now it's dusty and business is extremely slow. Too slow to take my mind off of these constricting rags they call a uniform. I have to shuffle around in it for nine hours straight, asking the same questions: ‘what would you like?’or ‘are you sure you don’t want to try today’s special?’. I know every type in the book.
    The woman in the red dress is definitely dating the man next to her, but not for long. She’s been glancing at the man cross the room all night. She’s just feeling him out though. She is pretty dedicated to the man next to her. She carrying his lighter which mean they never leave each other’s side. She’s also lighting his cigarette (she’s sucking up). As soon as she gets what she wants, she’s going to leave him so soon she’ll make his head spin.
    
Nighthawk
Annalise D.
     For some reason, I was in a horrible mood today. Every little thing set me off. Even when girl-scouts came up to my door selling cookies, I picked them up and threw them in their faces. Thinking it would calm me down, I went to Phillies. Right away, things got off to a bad start. When I walked into the cafe, I sat down on my usual chair. Once I got the normal white mug, I felt something sticky on my left elbow. I looked down at my elbow, and noticed a flattened piece of double chocolate cake. I madly sighed and moved my elbow. I looked around and watched a young couple talking to the red-head man behind the counter. The women was around her twenties and was wearing a bright red dress that showed off her very large collar bones and was sucking on something that she pulled out of her drink.  Her face was very skinny with sunken in cheeks and dark eyeshadow and dark eyes that made her look like she was being possessed. The man was also around his twenties. He wore a grey suit and hat that almost looked like mine. He also had a skinny face, sunken in cheeks, and squinty eyes.
     I looked at the man behind the counter and automatically stared at his flaming hair. The front looked like it was balding with a couple of hairs here and there. His faced looked exhausted, his large nose helped the fact that he reminded me of a leprechaun. All of a sudden, I smelt cigarette smoke in the air. I looked back at couple and noticed that the man was smoking a cigarette. I started coughing due to my allergy of smoke and bent over in my seat. I started to get very angry again, because I always believed in people not being able to smoke in restaurants. I glared at the man who was smoking, and turned to look at the door in the back of the cafe. There was some sort of sign on it but my growing blindness didn’t allow me to read it. I then looked at the milk and and coffee machine in the corner. All of a sudden, my anger turned back to the couple. I started yelling at the man for smoking, then turned to the woman and started judging for her about her cleavage-revealing top. I then got up, and left Phillies for good.
 
Nighthawks
Meghan M.
     As I wonder what it be like to actually have a “real” life, I somehow get to the place where I met my true love (Lucy). I quietly go in and the bartender (Jon) looks at the door as if I were a nobody. He just starts right back to work. I sit down at my usual spot, wondering if Jon would notice me. Before I left for the war, he offered me a free beer, and the diner was doing really good with business, so I couldn’t resist. That was the last time we talked since I was off to war. I was wondering if he forgot about me.
     I say “Jon? Jon do you hear me?” I started to get worried so I scream, “JON?! JON DO YOU HEAR ME?!?”
     I reach inside my shirt pocket but there is nothing in there. I feel a hole instead. No no no! I pull up my shirt and right smack dab right in the middle of my heart, clean hole. I pull down my shirt, acting like I didn’t see anything. Nothing happened. I’m not...dead. Just as I am conceptualizing this in my brain, Lucy walks in the doors. I am going crazy wanting to ask her a million questions, what happened when I was gone, when on earth are we going to get married, but as I am about to stand up, Duke Gonefield walks through the doors right behind her.
     She walks over to the spot where we first met, but Duke takes her to go sit on the other side of the table. As they sit down, Duke leans in and kisses her. My heart suddenly falls apart. Dropped into the underworld. Gone. Jon automatically walks over there and gets their orders with enthusiasm. I tilt my head down in deep depression. I see Lucy grab something out of her pocket. I look over and it is a big wad of cash. “When did Lucy become rich?” I ask myself. Her family has always been on the poorer side of town. Then it came to me...What if Duke and Lucy were married? What if she found out that I was...dead...and she ran straight for Duke? Duke has a cigarette and I’m not sure if it is lit or not. But even if it isn’t, he’s not putting it in his mouth. Jon is talking to them and grabbing something out from under the counter. While Lucy and Duke look happy as can be with each other, I sit there, on the other side of the diner, like an unwanted ghost.
The Robbers on Elm Street
Bobby M. 
     In the middle of Philadelphia, on a cold Thursday night on Elm Street, was the abandoned thrift shop. Across the street from the thrift shop was the lonely diner with very little business. There was a lonely man eating the dry steak from the diner.  I am a larger man, and I’m reading about WW2. I am very tired and I just got back from work but wanted to get a bite to eat.  
     There was a rumor around that the thrift store across the street was haunted. There were sightings of a ghost in the top middle window of the building. It haunted all that went into the building. It used the cash register as bait. It is right in front of the building through the window so everyone can see it. Once someone comes in, the ghost attacks, but of course those are only rumors, right?  
    Across the diner from the tired, lonely man was a man and his girlfriend. The man was holding a non-lit cigarette and the girl was holding the lighter. The man was talking to her very quietly. WHAT?!?!? He pulled out a gun. The hairs on the back of the employee's neck shot up. The man and women wanted all the money in the register. He bent down without taking his eyes of the robbers. He gave them the money and the man lit his cigarette and threw it on the ground. He broke the lighter and poured out all the gasoline. Now there was a huge fire  and the robbers took off running. I called the cops and got out of there. I watched the robbers leave and they told us that if we chased us they would shoot. They went into the “haunted” building and went to the register. They looked furious. There must have been nothing in the register. For some reason curtains just closed in the thrift shop. I heard a scream. Then silence. The curtains opened and they were gone. No one knows what ever happened to the robbers on Elm Street.

 
January 11, 2013
Nighthawks, Warhawks
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Nighthawks, Warhawks

To understand the connection between reading poetry and "reading" paintings, middle school students in my 7B language arts class made observation Read more
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