March 7, 2014
[Cross-posted on Edutopia]
The wonderful poet Naomi Shihab Nye first introduced me to William Stafford’s idea that no one becomes a poet. She says that we are all born poets, and it’s just that some of us choose to keep up the habit.
At times, all of us inevitably get stuck viewing ourselves in static and limiting ways. When I tell students that we will be studying poetry there are alwayssome students who mutter, “I can’t write poems.”
A poetry unit and Poetry Month are opportunities for encouraging students to write in new, creative and different ways. Bill Moyers reminds us, “Fooling with words is the play of poetry.” Studying poetry should be fun and challenging forall students, regardless of the personal narrative they have about themselves as poets and writers.
When studying poetry, the first thing I ask students to do is define poetry. They must come up with their own definition (no dictionaries or devices allowed), and then they work with a group to agree upon a common definition. After we share different group definitions, I project a piece of visual art and ask whether it should be considered poetry. I then play a song that is certain to provoke different responses and ask students to reexamine and clarify their definitions (my most recent choice was “Ice Ice Baby”).
March 7, 2014
Teaching is humbling. One of the best projects submitted by a student this past week used an idea that I initially discouraged. Thankfully I asked August to prove me wrong instead of preventing him from pursuing his alternate approach to the digital story project.
Overall the structure of this project seemed to allow students to individualize and pursue topics of their choosing. Many students went above and beyond. It is awesome to see how much thought and effort went into many of the final products. You can read earlier descriptions of this project here and here.
Here is a sampling of some different projects that stood out:
Jasmin: Are Revolutions Contagious? (Check out her use of scribing…)
You can browse an assortment of many other projects by clicking here.
Please add comments to their blog posts!