Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ideas for Poetry Portfolio

I used these ideas with my students to get their minds wrapped around poetry, but also to get their minds thinking that words are everywhere. These exercises helped them get ready for our Poetry Out Loud competition.

1. Ekphrastic Poetry:

2. Cento: From the Latin word for "patchwork," the cento is a poetic form made up of lines from poems by other poets.

3. Road Sign Poetry

4. Word Ticket/Paint Chip Poem

Monday, April 26, 2010

First-Time Yearbook Teacher Has Success!

As some of you may know, I took on my school's yearbook class this year in addition to teaching my other classes. It has been both a fun and frustrating experience. I know I've learned a lot--probably more than my students, actually!

Anyway, our yearbook is almost finished (we just have one more file that a senior editor needs to upload on Monday), and I am experiencing a great feeling of accomplishment and pride for my little staff. Our theme was Technically Speaking, and we really took that theme and ran with it. Here's our cover--it looks like a computer hybrid between a Mac and a PC:

The actual cover looks way cooler than this--this is just a small file drawing of it.

Our pages themselves look like internet sites, except for our first and last pages, which look like a computer desktop and the infamous "blue screen of death."  Here are some examples (if you click on them you can see a larger version, I think):

It's been a ton of fun making UCAS themed near copies of various websites. (I hope you recognize Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Youtube.)

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words

I was first introduced to this book at CUWP. I've been wanting to use it ever since, and now that we are doing Poetry Out Loud, this is my big chance. We spent about half of a class period making word tickets. Word tickets means that the students had a big pile of magazines and newspapers from which they were supposed to choose interesting words. After they got their words, they cut them out and glued them onto carnival-type tickets.

I had every student choose ten nouns, ten verbs, and ten "others," so we had around 900 words or so by the time they had finished. Then everyone got 10-15 random words and used as many as they wanted to create phrases and images to inspire poetry. My students had a fantastic time choosing words (and it was very educational, too, as they spent a lot of time arguing and teaching each other which words were and were not nouns and verbs). I will post some of their best works here after I've gone over all of their portfolios.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Secret Knowledge of Grownups

I bought this book at CUWP, and I've been meaning to use it all year as a Scribble. I finally found a time when I thought it would work well, since my students were learning about Romanticism. Romanticism privileged children and childhood, right? So--what better time to write from a child's perspective.

In the book, the author takes those basic nagging rules that all parents have: don't pick your nose, eat your vegetables, etc., and comes up with a wacky secret reason behind them. For example, you shouldn't pick your nose because you might accidentally deflate your brain.

My students took the ball and ran with it. They came up with some great secrets--about everything from aiming urine to talking to strangers. I gave them a 17 x 11 piece of paper and had them fold it like a book. They put their rule and the supposed reason (Eat Your Vegetables - Because they are good for you.) on the outside and then they put the real secret reason and optional illustrations on the inside. As a culminating activity, I had the students pass their completed booklets around the class. That way everyone got to see what their peers had come up with, and we all got to have a few laughs.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A New Resource. . .

I just discovered a really great site: http://comp2reflections.blogspot.com/. I think this same blogging lady has a couple of other sites, too. I think there is some stuff here that I can use. Yippee!!!