Poetry Workshop Recap

I always appreciate the opportunity to share resources with teachers, and the poetry workshop I led last week gave me a chance to combine two of my favorite things:  poetry and technology!Writing PoetryPoetry Books That Connect to the Curriculum

Poetry Book Display

To prepare for the Putting the “Tech” in Poetic workshop, my assistant and I spent the afternoon setting up displays of poetry books for teachers to browse through before and after the presentation.

I pulled about a hundred poetry books and sorted them into categories (Concrete, Haiku, Novels in Verse, Themed Poetry, Art and Music in Poetry, etc) to make book selection easier, and Mrs. Jordan printed signs for each.

We also put out a display of books by our current U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, and featured a collection of eight Langston Hughes titles designed to inspire a Poet Study.

In addition, I had one of our document cameras set up as an example of how you could give students a close-up view of a collection of objects to inspire poetry writing, using a poetry book like Keepers: Treasure-Hunt Poems by John Frank, or a nonfiction book like Swirl by Swirl by Joyce Sidman.

I also had a FLIP camera and a digital camera on display near a computer with a microphone plugged in.

Sign-In StationWhen teachers arrived, they signed in to receive technology re-certification credit and to win a door prize.  We had snacks out – after a long day of teaching you need something to keep you going! – as well as some discount coupons for our local bookstore.

Once everyone was settled, the real resource-sharing began!  I spent the last two weeks in March adding websites to a Poetry LiveBinder that I created for the teachers.  Resources in the Binder include links to lesson ideas for some of the poetry books in our school library (hosted at ThingLink), websites featuring free online poetry for children, poetry lesson plans from Read/Write/Think, web tools for interactive poetry writing, and sites that facilitate sharing and responding to poetry.

Workshop AttendeesMost of the resources I included are ones that teachers can explore on their own according to their individual needs, so I focused my presentation on the technology tools that they might need more assistance with.

For example, I showed them how they could use Padlet to upload student poetry and have other students respond to it.  (I especially like that Padlet doesn’t require an account to leave a comment, and keeps your links private until you share them.)  Click here and here for examples.

I also demonstrated how student poetry could be shared both visually and orally via VoiceThread, and how viewers can leave an audio or text comment on a poem, provided they are logged into VoiceThread.  Click here for an example.

As a bonus, these tools can also be used to share other types of writing, as well as photos and videos.  I’m sure that some of the teachers who don’t use them for poetry will incorporate them in other areas of instruction.

Poem in Your Pocket Bulletin BoardAt the end of the session, I encouraged everyone to share their best student-written poetry with me so that we can feature it on our Poem in Your Pocket bulletin board over the next few weeks.  We’ll have multiple copies of these poems available for library visitors to read and take with them.

The workshop attendees left the library with a whole new set of possibilities for using poetry with their students, I’m confident that they will share them with the teachers who could not be there.

If you have a great poetry resource that I need to add to my collection, please leave a comment and tell me about it!

 

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Putting the “Tech” in Poetic!

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’ve been pulling together some poetry resources to share with my teachers in an after-school workshop tomorrow.  (Click on the image to download the flier I sent out.)  The focus is on using technology to enhance poetry lessons.

I’ve created a Poetry LiveBinder to organize all the resources to make it easier for teachers to plan poetry lessons for their students.  I especially like the lessons at the Read/Write/Think website, so I’ve given them their own Tab in the binder.  I’ve also included several sites featuring online poetry, and sites that offer interactive poetry-writing tools.

I’m also excited about sharing my ThingLink Channel, which features links to resources for some of the poetry books we have in our school library.  These images are “re-mixable,” which means anyone can add links to any of the books I’ve uploaded.  This way teachers can share their own lesson plans and activity websites for these books.  It’s a great way for them to collaborate, even when they can’t meet together in person.

In addition to the web resources I’m sharing, I’ve also pulled about 75 poetry books to have on display for teachers to check out after the workshop.  The books will be grouped into categories such as Haiku, Curriculum Connections, Concrete Poetry, Novels in Verse, and more. 

Of course we’ll have snacks and door prizes as well, and I’ll have a few computer stations set up where teachers can play around with responding to poetry using VoiceThread and Padlet.

I’ll update this post later with photos and more resources.  In the meantime, please leave a comment sharing your favorite poetry site for elementary students so that I can add it to the collection!

 

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Poetry Books on ThingLink

Are you using ThingLink yet?

I was just introduced to it a few weeks ago by @AuntyTech on Twitter, and I quickly realized that it was the perfect free tool for my new poetry project!

I want to make it easy for teachers to use poetry books from our library in the classroom, and since I know they don’t have a lot of extra time to search for lesson plans and extension ideas, I’m happy to do it for them.  ThingLink works well for this because I can upload a photo of each book cover, provide a summary in the comment section, and add unlimited links (to lesson plans, author interviews, book trailer videos, printables, etc) to the image.  This allows teachers to quickly choose the perfect book for their classroom and put together an entire lesson plan without spending precious planning time surfing the web for resources.

I’ve included some sample images here, complete with links, to give you an idea of how ThingLink works.  (Just hover over the image to see the links.)  I love that the images can be embedded in a blog, wiki, or webpage, as well as shared via the most popular social media sites.  You can choose from an assortment of link icons, and you can add a brief description of each link.

Here is my Link Icon Key:

Blue Circle = Lesson Plan
i = Book Preview
Person = Author Info
Red Circle = Book Site
Play Button = Video/Audio
Green Circle = Discussion Guide
Yellow Circle = Extension Ideas
Black Circle = Misc. Resource

You can visit my Thinglink Channel to see all the books I’ve curated so far. All of my images are set to be “re-mixable” which means anyone can grab an image and edit the links for your own use.  I have also enabled editing on each book photo, so if you have created a lesson for any of these books, or you know of a good internet resource that I missed, please add it!

My goal is to upload all of the poetry books that I have in my school library by the end of the month, so you may want to follow me on ThingLink to see when I’ve added new photos.  I’ll also be encouraging my teachers to share their own lesson plans for these books, so I’ll be adding more links to existing titles as well.

If you’re using ThingLink yourself, please leave a comment to share what you’re doing and give us a link to your Channel!

 

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(Empty the Shelves) Challenge Accepted!

Carolyn at Risking Failure has issued a challenge for the month of April:

During the month of April, I am challenging my students to read all of the books in our picture book collection…. If you would like to join us for the month of April, go for it!!!”

 

Poetry Shelves Before

Count me in!  But I am going to modify the challenge for myself:  Instead of emptying the Everybody shelves, I’m going to focus on the 811 section.  I’m already working on ideas to promote those books anyway for National Poetry Month, so rather than splitting my focus, I’ll just make an even bigger push to get them into the hands of students and teachers.  I’ve taken a “before” picture, and I’ll add an “after” picture at the end of April when I share my results.

If you’d like to join in, go to the Empty the Shelves Challenge post and leave a comment for Carolyn telling her what section of the library you want to empty out next month!

 

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Book Spine Poetry = Library Skills Practice

Until I sat down to create my first book spine poem (a unique poetry form invented by Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes) I didn’t really know what was involved in creating one.  Now that I’ve written one myself, I’ve learned that there’s more going on with book spine poetry than meets the eye!

stack of booksI’m sure the creative process is different for everyone, but in my case wandering around the library staring at row after row of titles (my first approach) did not result in a stack of books that formed a poem.

 

Wandering around the library and catching sight of The Long  Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder did spark the idea for my poem, but once I settled on a topic it took at least a dozen OPAC title searches to come up with a list of 15 or 20 promising books.  (I searched for snow, cold, frozen, winter, snowfall, blizzard, sleet, icy, windy, storm, snowfall, chilly, and spring, and those are just the words I remember looking up.)  Then I went and found each book on the shelf, and finally I arranged and rearranged them to create my poem.

 

book spine poem

The Long Winter by Lori June
Click to Enlarge

 

Think about that:  Choose a topic.  Develop a search strategy.  Perform the searches.  Write down the titles and call numbers.  Locate the books on the shelf.  THAT’S AN ENTIRE LIBRARY SKILLS LESSON DISGUISED AS A FUN POETRY WRITING ACTIVITY!  Thank goodness Travis Jonker is a benevolent genius who shares his great poetry ideas, and not an evil genius who keeps them to himself.

I plan to try this with my 5th graders next month; I’ll let you know how it turns out.  Maybe you’d like to try it with your students too, in which case you can leave a comment and let me know how it turns out!

 

Images:
SML Books / 20090903.10D.52431 / SML‘  Found on flickrcc.net
Bookshelves Elsewhere‘ Found on flickrcc.net

 

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The Long Winter: a Book Spine Poem

I’ve long enjoyed the book spine poems invented by Travis Jonker at 100 Scope Notes, and this year I finally decided to try my hand at creating one.

 

book spine poem

The Long Winter

 

Here’s a close-up, or you can click on the photo to see an enlarged view that’s easier to read:

 

Book Spine Poem Closeup

The Long Winter

 

And here it is in typed text:

The Long Winter

Cold, Colder, Coldest
It’s Snowing! It’s Snowing!
Snowy Flowy Blowy
One Leaf Rides the Wind

Rain, Snow, and Ice
Rosy Noses, Freezing Toes
Clouds, Rain, and Snow
Waiting for Spring

 

This was actually a lot of fun to create, and not as hard as I thought it would be!  Have you created a book spine poem?   Please leave a comment and tell us where to find it!

 

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Poetry Friday Anthology

 

 

I’ve found a great resource to share with my teachers who want to use more poetry with their students this year:  The Poetry Friday Anthology by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong!

To quote from Vardell’s Poetry for Children blog:

[The book] features 200+ poems by 75 poets, plus curriculum connections for every single poem tied to the new Common Core standards….providing a poem-a-week for every grade level, K-5 along with 5 minutes of skill-based activities.  The Poetry Friday Anthology officially launches tomorrow, Sept. 1, and now includes both paperback and digital versions. The paperback includes ALL the poems and activities K-5. The e-books can be purchased as the entire K-5 collection, or simply for a single grade level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.  The added beauty of the e-book versions is that you can project the poem (via computer and Kindle app), and the e-book is searchable…

And if the book itself weren’t enough, the authors have also created a companion blog titled (what else?) The Poetry Friday Anthology blog, which provides samples of poems and related activities, and explains how those activities align with the Common Core standards.  Librarians will especially enjoy the Week 1 poem!

You can use the “Click to Look Inside” feature at Amazon to preview the book, and to read reviews from teachers, authors, and poets.  (As of this writing, there are 16 reviews, and all have rated the book 5 stars.)

I plan to see how many of my teachers would be interested in using this book, and whether they prefer a hard copy or an ebook, and that will determine what we decide to order for our school.  I will post again later in the year to share  some of our Poetry Friday success stories!

Update 9/7/2012:  I’ve shared these resources with a 4th grade teacher who I know uses poetry with her students throughout the year (rather than waiting until April to do a poetry unit) and who has agreed to evaluate them from a classroom teacher’s point of view.  I will post again later on how the “test drive” goes!

 

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