Monday, November 18, 2013

Taking poetry outside our classroom

First graders have been studying poetry for the past few weeks. We've discussed looking through a poet's eyes, the rhythm in poetry, how poems can express big feelings, and most recently how to implement line breaks to affect the reading. Throughout this process, we've been using many poems to illustrate the different elements of poetry. Each time we read a poem, the students in 1B get a smaller copy of it to put in their own poetry binders.

Our students love these binders. Not only are they able to be personalized, they're just the right size for small hands! During free time, they ask to read their poetry binders, and can often be heard chanting the poems together in pairs or small groups. Their fluency has increased, and their love of poetry seems to be blossoming.

At the same time as our poetry study, we've been implementing literacy workstations twice a week. We now have 4 stations: Library Reading, Read to Teacher, Word Work, and Writing. We are about to launch our Listen to Reading station. In the past, we've had a variety of audio books on the iPad, many purchased, some recorded by teachers and uploaded on Dropbox. But we've never had any recorded poetry.

A few weeks ago, I attended EdCampNYC, which, if you've never been, is an amazing, motivating, exhilarating event, that not only allows you to connect with other educators, but leaves you reinvigorated and excited about trying new things in your classroom. I attended a session entitled "Global Collaboration on the iPad," led by Meg Wilson (iPodsibilities on Twitter- I highly recommend you follow her). She led a presentation on how she utilized the app Book Creator with her students in order to create a "Global Book" about neighborhoods.

That's when the idea hit me.

A global poetry book! We'd send out the plea on Twitter for classrooms around the country (and maybe world?) to pick a poem, take a picture of the poem, and record the students reading the poem, using Book Creator. These pages would be collected, and made into a "Global Poetry Book," which would not only allow my students to have poetry to listen to when we launch the new workstation, but would open up the walls of our classroom.

I introduced this idea to our students and they jumped on the idea, eagerly asking questions like, "what if we get the same poem from different classes?" and "what if we get the same poem, but in different languages?" We've since picked our poem and have begun practicing it. I'm going to use the space on this blog to create the "Twitter plea" for participation. Fingers crossed it gets retweeted and we get responses!

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