For the brainstorming portion, I encouraged students to simply doodle and/or write down any thoughts or words that came to mind while I read the poem in Flanders Fields. We discussed the poem and the students were fascinated to know that John McCrae, the author, was a Canadian doctor. We also listened to several school choirs sing versions of the poem and then discussed our feelings. The students were so open -- many found it sad and even scary, but it was fascinating to see how some also found hope and messages of peace.
Once I explained the project, they flipped over their doodles and rough sketched the landscape they wanted to paint. When they were ready I gave them masking tape for the crosses and we watercolour painted the backgrounds. When the tape was removed, the crosses were stark white. The final step was adding cut out poppies.
Their paintings were beautiful. I displayed them on a bulletin board outside the office and several teachers complimented the students on their work. Bravo tout le monde!