19 Drawing Fruitful Connections

Richmond Embeywa

Green planted garden girl

"Green planted garden girl" by Crinklecrankle.com is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.




garden ⧫ human connection ⧫ fruits and vegetables ⧫ point of view


This multi-day lesson explores our human connections to plants (especially fruits and vegetables) in our gardens, an aesthetic/gallery space with potential to foster students’ multiliteracies and also create opportunities for them to reflect on the ways in which humanizing the garden may influence their own (future) habits.

On the first day, students are asked to talk about their conceptualizations of what a garden looks like and list the types of fruits and vegetables they expect to find in the garden. These first-day activities will act as foundation and support students’ aesthetic interactions with the garden on day two and three.

On the second day, students will analyze and experience different points of view in a specific garden – The Literacy Garden – that supports refugee-background communities and reflect on the ways in which the garden humanizes people. Many members of these communities come from Swahili-speaking countries such as Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda. This serves as a good reminder that speakers of languages considered “foreign” can also be closer to home than we think.

On day three, students will experience collaborative drawings from their classmates and become a fruit. From this new identity as a fruit, students will have an opportunity to explore more human/fruit connections.

Learning objectives

  • Can describe simple elements that constitute a garden.
  • Can describe narrative images of a garden using different modalities (notes, drawings)
  • Can imagine themselves as particular fruits/plants and describe this new point of view in a multisensory and multimodal fashion.

DAY 1: What is a Garden?

This first set of activities is designed to invite students to conceptualize the garden before moving to other activities that will ask them to analyze and experience particular gardens and elements from the garden.

Conceptualizing the Garden

Doing this activity in pairs allows students to provide each other with vocabulary support. If the instructor feels like their students are less likely to need this support they can set this up as an individual activity.  

A. Discuss the following questions with your partner.
  • When you think of a garden, what comes to mind? Answer this question using the table below where you list down at least three nouns, adjectives & verbs.
Noun (Type of fruits/ vegetables, type of soil, tools that can be used in a garden, etc.)  Adjectives (Type of garden, Texture, color, shape, size, etc.) Verbs (Activities that can be done in the garden)








B. In small groups, discuss the following questions.
  • Which fruits and/or vegetables discussed in the previous activity did you find interesting? Why?
  • Did you use similar nouns, adjectives & verbs in your descriptions? What are some things that were different?
  • In your groups, each person should draw their favorite fruit or vegetable, then compare your drawings and vote for the drawing that looks the most interesting or realistic.

Because this is part of the foundational activities to help conceptualize what a garden is, students do necessarily need to explain in detail why the drawings are interesting/realistic but they are welcome to do so if there is a lot of interest.

Name of favorite fruit/vegetable Drawing of favorite fruit/vegetable







Analyzing the Garden

This activity invites students to think about the ways in which the human-garden connections can be achieved by comparing this garden to other types (conceptualizations) of gardens discussed in previous activities.

A. Look at the garden in the image and create a list of words that can best describe it.

It may be interesting for students to discuss a little more about why they think they have guessed the right location. It can facilitate an interesting discussion about how this image connects with associations about geographies and locals (from other lessons – thinking about locations and landscapes)

Nouns (Who and what is in the picture?) Adjectives (What is the location of the person/plant/fruit? How does this person/plant/fruit look? How is the setting?


Verbs (What action words can describe the people/fruits/plants in the picture?)











B. In pairs, answer the following questions to compare your garden descriptions of image A with descriptions from previous activities.
Questions Garden from previous activities Garden in image A
  • How would you describe the shape of the garden?
  • What can you plant in this garden?
  • What is the color of this garden?
  • What is the size of this garden
  • Which tools can you use in this garden?

DAY 2: Points of View in The Garden

This activity invites students to experiences of different people (here, refugee-background communities) and their connections to the garden. These connections go beyond dietary/healthy reasons to include economic reasons and agency.

Analyzing Experiences at the Literacy Garden

This first activity can be done individually and students will have an opportunity to use action verbs and discuss narrative aspects of the images. Students can do activity B in pairs or small groups so that they have an opportunity to compare their notes and analyze more points of view.

A. Look at the three images in the following link and answer the following questions
  • Which experiences/ perspectives/ point of views are expressed?
  • What actions are represented?

Link: https://tucson.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/gardening-central-to-refugees-building-a-new-life-in-tucson/article_6cb4b75c-4690-5117-9601-887bc5905eef.html

Before moving to the next activity, the instructor can encourage students to look around for similar community gardens in other cities and compare these gardens.

B. Together with a partner, compare your notes and give reasons for your selections. Use the following questions to guide your discussion.
  • Did you notice any differences/ similarities between your entries?
  • What was the most interesting that came out of your discussion?
  • What else did you notice in your discussion?

C. Reflecting on the Literacy Garden. Read the following summary about the Literacy Garden and answer the questions that follow.:

Summary of the Literacy Connects Garden: This garden supports the livelihoods of refugee-background families in Tucson. Through the garden, these communities get an opportunity to grow different fruits and vegetables and sell their produce in different farmer’s markets.

In their words…

“I’m working in the garden to have organic, healthy food”

“Then I will have income”

“reducing our expenses”


  • Think about your first impression of the relationship between people and food (especially fruits and vegetables). In what ways have these impressions changed or remained the same?
  • What do these snapshots represent of the bigger project?

DAY 3: Becoming Fruitful

Human Shapes from orange outer peel #1

"Human Shapes from orange outer peel #1" by Jangra Works is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Applying knowledge: Human/fruit connection

This activity encourages students to see themselves as artists and to experience not just their own work, the collaborative work of other students.

A. Imagine yourself as a fruit and express this imagination in the form of a drawing.
  • What fruit did you choose and why?
  • In what ways does this fruit represent you?
  • Write a short explanation (2-3 sentences)
Drawing Explanation 







B. In pairs, reflect on your drawing and discuss the following questions
  • Why did you choose that drawing?
  • What are the similarities/ differences in your drawings? Think about shape, type of fruit, texture, size, etc.
  • Who has a more realistic drawing? Why?
C. As a group project (3-4 students), make one final collaborative drawing that reflects your unique individual characteristics. Write a short paragraph explaining how this drawing represents each group member.
Collaborative drawing Short paragraph









Analyzing & Experiencing Fruitful Art

The instructor will ask students to make a gallery by hanging their drawings on the wall but make sure they hide the paragraph so that students from other groups can only see the drawings. 

A. Look at the gallery in the classroom, choose your favorite drawing and reflect on the following questions (You can even imagine yourself in the image).


  • What attracts you first? Where do you look?
  • What human elements do you see? What makes these elements humanizing?
  • How realistic is the image?
  • What does the drawing reveal about our relationship with fruits?


  • How does this drawing make you feel?
  • Imagine yourself in the drawing, how does the drawing smell?
  • Imagine yourself in the drawing, how does the drawing feel (texture)?
  • Are there any humanizing elements of the drawing that represent (parts of) you? Which ones? How?


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Multiliteracies at the Museum: A Resource Book for Language Teachers Copyright © 2022 by Richmond Embeywa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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