Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Power of Words, Sound and Rhythm

I'm embarrassed to admit that I used to think of poetry as boring or rambling. Or silly rhymes in a sing song pattern.  Never before has poetry been so mainstream and "cool". With the passionate recitation of The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman at President Joe Biden's inauguration, my students have been hooked. (Not to mention poetry as the Super Bowl half-time show?!)

So they were thrilled when poet, Andrew Green of Potato Hill Poetry led a writer's workshop for our class via Zoom. When he shared his writer's notebook, my students gasped. His notebook cover looked similar to their notebooks! He told them he never goes anywhere without it, writing down observations, thoughts, bits of language. A real live author explaining how he collects and gathers his ideas! He showed the inside of his writer's notebook, including writing and sketches. 

Andrew shared his writing process with us, including the number of times he revises to get his wording just right. He taught us how word choice can evoke images and emotion. Next, he asked the kids to think of how they were feeling. They wrote poems using metaphors to compare themselves to different nouns in order to SHOW their feeling.  Then we all had to guess their feeling, after they read their poem to the class. Metaphors are usually difficult to teach, yet using this format, all students were successful! Can you guess the feelings evoked from the student poems below?

Since April is National Poetry Month, we have been reading poetry, writing poetry, watching videos of other kids performing poetry, leading up to our class Poetry Slam.  (Complete with many kids wearing virtual berets, thanks to Zoom's accessory features & finger snapping instead of clapping!) Each student memorized a poem to recite in front of the class on Zoom.  They also recorded a video on Flipgrid. From silly, rhyming poems, to more serious poems about social justice, to student-authored poems; they were all fabulous! A student poem that brought the class to outright giggles and many finger snaps was perfect during this time of Covid.
You can read more ideas for teaching poetry HERE, HERE,  HERE and HERE.  

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7 comments:

  1. Need I say it?--"Great minds think alike." My post also was inspired by Amanda Gorman.

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  2. Need I say it?--"Great minds think alike." My post also was inspired by Amanda Gorman.

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  3. Need I say it?--"Great minds think alike." My post also was inspired by Amanda Gorman.

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  4. Wonderful post. Love your ideas for teaching poetry. Amanda Gorman is truly an inspiration.

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  5. I love everything about his post: the virtual author visit, his poetry notebook, and your students' fabulous poetry! What an amazing class with an amazing teacher!

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    2. "I love everything about THIS post!" Typo - LOL!

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