Because of Winn Dixie Art Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Kate DiCamillo's ~'Because of Winn Dixie~' is a beloved book for many children. This lesson offers some art activities that will help maximize what your students get out of the text.

Why Art Activities?

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo is a beautiful, meaningful story, and many students will be drawn to it because of its compelling themes of family, community, loss, and the relationships among humans and animals. One way to make sure your students get as much as possible out of the reading is by having them do art activities related to the text.

Art activities will help your students maximize their comprehension and form deeper connections to the novel. Further, art activities can give the most visual learners among your students a stronger way to make sense of characters, plot, and themes. The art activities in this lesson can be modified to meet the specific needs of your students.

Activities Around Character

  • Portrait of Opal

Opal, the main character in Because of Winn Dixie, changes a great deal over the course of the novel. Her character and development are central to the text. Have your students work with oil pastels and construction paper to draw portraits of Opal as they envision her, but challenge them to add nuance to her facial expression and background to show her inner thoughts and the ways she changes as the plot unfolds. Students should look back through the text to find evidence to support their artistic choices.

  • Community Collage

One of the major themes in Because of Winn Dixie is the way different and sometimes surprising people can come together to create community. Have your students work alone or with partners to create torn paper collages showing Opal and Winn-Dixie's community. A torn paper collage is made only of ripped construction paper glued or taped onto paper, so the representations of characters will be somewhat abstract. This medium gives your students a chance to show the essence of people and what it looks and feels like when very different individuals come together to form a coherent community.

Activities Around Plot

  • Painting of a Scene

Ask your students to focus in on one scene that they found pivotal or meaningful in the novel. They should use watercolors to portray the scene in as much detail as possible. When you bring your students' paintings together, it will be interesting to notice the different scenes they have chosen; together, your class will have created an artistic representation of the novel's most meaningful events.

  • Meeting Winn-Dixie

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