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.
When 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.
Most 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.
At 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!