Kaleidoscope Eyes Are Watching

Kaleidoscope Eyes Are Watching by Christy Berry

I recently read a book called Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jen Bryant for my literature class.  This book was one of my favorites that I needed to read.  The main character is Lyza and the year is 1968.  Gramps died and passed down his last greatest adventure to Lyza.  Lyza and her friends, Carolann and Malcolm, work together to find the pirate treasure left by Captain William Kid.  Together they face issues of race, being young, trusting others, and having family sent to fight in the Vietnam War.  I was surprised by the ending of the book.

This book would fit beautifully for Talk Like A Pirate Day for middle school students.  Click here to be linked to my blog about Talk Like A Pirate Day. I would have students read this book right around September.  An activity that I did for my class was to make a concrete poem.  Well, I sort of did this.  Concrete poems are poems that look like what they are talking about.  My poem is like an eye with very long lashes.  In the background I used the idea of a kaleidoscope and had the eye lashes break up the spaces.   I also painted the words so that you would need to turn the painting like a kaleidoscope so you can read the poem. I made a short video about the process in the Animoto. (I really like Animoto, it’s fun and easy!)

The painting is an example of what students could make to create concrete poems to go along with their reading.  (It is important to note that you would need to have a lesson on concrete poems before having students create their own interpretation.)


Brainstorm a list of words or phrases for the characters in the book:

  • Kaleidoscope Eyes are watching, watching like Janis Joplin
  • 1966 1968
  • Fractured into small pieces
  • Dad is hard working single father.  He spends working time at Glassboro State.  He supports his family with a no-nonsense approach to life.
  • Mom disappeared when she ran off.  She fractured her family with her shopping addiction.  She appeared colorful, slim, and unpredictable.
  • Denise plays the annoying older sister.  She has prying eyes.  When not acting like a princess she works. at a dinner.  A soft spot in her heart can be helpful to her younger sister.
  • Harry was a part of the little story as Denise’s boyfriend.  He is trustworthy, colorblind, and ever so helpful.
  • Gramps He traveled all over the world as a navy navigator.  He died before his final adventure.  He passed his last adventure to his granddaughter.
  • Lyza adventurous, researcher, problem solver, loyal
  • Malcolm’s role is a best friend. He is not allowed passage on the “white” only restaurants.  He is also known as a genius to his friends.
  • Carolann’s role is the last best friend in the trio.  She watches her young twin siblings.  She is a planner and a reader.
  • Dixon plays guitar, works at the lumber yard, nice, sent to Vietnam, had an afro, nick name Beach
  • Captain William Kid pirate who hid a treasure, on the run from the royal navy, born in Scotland 1654, reluctant pirate.

Next find images to go along with the story or the idea of the concrete poem:

I pulled all my images from a 2009/2010 SVA Catalog (This is probably the most clever college catalog that I have ever seen.)  I pulled out several images about eyes and random colors.

Next Mod Podge the images:

I used a standard canvas; however, any type of surface will do.  Cardboard works well for students.  It’s sturdy and does not cost as much as a canvas.  Let this dry overnight.

Next add paint:

I used acrylic paints and as I was painting I used a paper towel to remove some of the paint over the images.  I ended up covering up most of the images but kept the outlines to add designs.  I used black paint for the background so that the white letters could contrast well.

Finally add the concrete poem on top:

Pick the phrase or phases that bit best on the canvas. I used a smaller brush for the letters.  I also turned the canvas as I was working to make it easier to write the letters.

Let the painting dry.


-Mrs. Berry


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Talk Like A Pirate Day: Landlubber vs Pirate Nursery Rhymes | Berryart's Blog

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