More Poem In Your Pocket 2011

Today, 7 more classes came to the media center to read their poetry.  Even with power outages and our wireless network crashing, we were able to get every class’s reading recorded.  Some of the recordings will have moments in them where the video feed is lost, but all students were recorded.  Here are their poetry recordings.

Boyle Kindergarten

Li Kindergarten

Carney Kindergarten

Hocking PreK

Spurgeon PreK

Stuckey 1st Grade

Wyatt 1st Grade

Poem In Your Pocket Day 2011

Amazing! Global!  Collaborative!  Snap!  I’m overjoyed by how today’s Poem In Your Pocket Day went.  For the past 3 years, we’ve been observing national poem in your pocket day by carrying poems in our pockets, wearing stickers to promote the day, and holding a day of poetry reading in the media center where every child (and adult) has a chance to read poems into our open microphone.  This year, we tried something new:  a live webcast.  Using Clarke County’s new purchase of Adobe Connect, Joel Frey setup a room for the Barrow Media Center.  The link was sent directly to the PTA listserve and an online registration was setup via Google Forms for anyone else interested.  Registrants on Google Forms were emailed the room link.

Today, 18 classes came to the media center for 20 minute poetry reading sessions.  Students came up one at a time and read their poems.  We all celebrated with snaps.  At the same time via Adobe Connect, parents, media specialists, classrooms within our school, classrooms across the district, and family members in other parts of the United States and the world were watching, listening, and making comments about the student poetry.  As online participants made comments, I shared the comments with the students in between poets walking to the microphone.  Amazing things started to happen.  Students started huddling around the computer waiting for the next comment to come in.  They got excited when they saw that someone was typing.  They wondered why someone didn’t make a comment about their poem.  They kept asking, “You mean people can really see us?  They’re watching us right now?”  It was electric.

Online, participants made comments about how much they appreciated being able to connect with their child, nephew, cousin, etc.  People joined us from multiple locations:  Mrs. Marsha West, Barrow’s former media specialist, joined us from Lincoln, Nebraska.  One student had family members join us from Chicago, Illinois, Cohutta, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Another student had an uncle tune in from Afghanistan.  Parents explored a technology that many had never tried, and they appreciated this opportunity to think about learning and connecting globally in a new way.

At the same time, every teacher in the school got to see a new technology in action, and now the ideas are beginning to spark about how this can be used in the future.  At least two teachers have already approached me with ideas for future events or lessons.

This afternoon, as I walked down the halls, a student stopped me and said, “Mr. Plemmons, did anyone else make a comment about my poem?”  Kids want authentic audiences beyond their classroom walls.  Thank you, Clarke County for giving us this tool.  Now, our task is to keep using it, seeking out authentic audiences, connecting with experts around the globe, and collaborating with classrooms in our own district and beyond.

You can listen to every class recording on Adobe Connect below.  At each link, you will hear and see the students reading poetry.  You will also see the chat comments that took place during the webcast and hear my announcements to the students each time a comment came in.  I hope you will take some time to see what an important day this was for us in the media center.

You are also invited to tune in on Monday April 18th, where several PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st grade classes will read their poems between 8:00AM-12:20PM EST.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hart 1st Grade

Sheppard 2nd Grade

Watson 1st Grade

Brewer 1st Grade

O’Prey 5th Grade

Beshara 5th Grade

Slongo 5th Grade

Freeman 4th Grade

Selleck 4th Grade

Landstrom 4th Grade

Em Kindergarten

Brink 2nd Grade

Sitler 2nd Grade

Yawn 2nd Grade

Cantrell 3rd Grade

Griffith 3rd Grade

Rogers 3rd Grade

Shealey 3rd Grade

2011 Poetry Contest Winners

Today we announced the winners of the 1st annual Barrow Media Center Poetry Contest.  We had a staggering 156 students who submitted a poem.  After many hours of reading, debating, and discussing with others, two top poems were chosen from PreK-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, and 4th-5th grade.  We also recognized 43 other poets who had outstanding poems in the following categories;

Most Unique (a poem about a napkin written on a napkin)

Acrostic Poets

List Poets

Shape Poets

Digital Poets

Group Poets

Rhyming Poets

Pondering Poets

Nature Poets

Form Poets

Story Poets

Personal Story Poets

Congratulations to all of our winners!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Battle of the Books 2011 District Champions

Once again, Barrow Elementary 5th graders have won the Clarke County School District Battle of the Books.  The Fantastic Five has read books and practiced tirelessly since December.  As always, it was so much fun to have all 14 elementary schools in our district come together to celebrate reading with a fun competition.

When we returned to school, our superintendent, Dr. Lanoue, just happened to be hear and stopped by to speak to the team and praise them for their accomplishment.  Congratulations Jack, Katy, Gabby, Olivia, and Suvitha.  You earned it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Poem in Your Pocket Day: LIVE!

We have some exciting news about this year’s Poem in Your Pocket Day Friday April 15th in the Barrow Media Center.  Two things will be happening for the 1st time:

1.  Most students will be reading original poetry at our open mic poetry cafe.  Many of these poems were entered in our 1st annual media center poetry contest.

2.  Parents and other interested individuals will be able to listen to the poetry readings live on the web!

Thanks to our district’s new purchase of Adobe Connect, we will be broadcasting each class’s poetry readings online.  An email has been sent out to the PTA listserve with the link to the room.  In the spirit of trying to give our students an authentic audience while still maintaining a safe online atmosphere, we do ask that anyone who would like to view our poem in your pocket day poetry readings register at the following link by Friday morning.  Because of the number of classes doing poetry readings, we are holding poetry readings on two different days.  You will receive a link to our room and can come in and out of the room throughout the day on Friday April 15th and Monday April 18th.  The two-day schedule is posted below.  We hope you will join us and celebrate each student’s poetry with online snaps and positive vibes.  “See” you online 🙂

Poem in Your Pocket Schedule Friday April 15th (Times are EST)

Time Class
8:00 AM Hart
8:20 Sheppard
8:40 Watson
9:00 Brewer
9:20 O’Prey
9:40 Beshara
10:00 Slongo
10:20 Freeman
10:40 Selleck
11:00 Landstrom
11:20 Em
12:00 PM Brink
12:20 Sitler
12:40 Yawn
1:00 Cantrell
1:20 Griffith
1:40 Rogers
2:00 Shealey

Poem in Your Pocket Schedule Monday April 18th (Times are EST)

Time Class
8:00 AM
8:20 Boyle
8:40 Li
9:00 Carney
9:20 Hocking
9:40 Spurgeon
11:00 Stuckey
12:00 PM Wyatt

UGA Poetry Support

Today the University of Georgia Athletic Association had a day of service in Clarke County Schools and the community.   We used these volunteers to support the many poetry lessons that are happening in the media center and in individual classrooms.  Along with send twelve readers to go into classrooms, the athletic association also purchased 12 new poetry books to donate to our media center.  Volunteers went to 5 classrooms:  Ms Spurgeon’s PreK, Mrs. Hart’s 1st grade, and Mrs. Oprey, Mrs. Slongo and Mrs. Beshara’s 5th grade classrooms.  They read poetry to students and worked alongside students as they wrote poems for our poetry contest and for Poem in Your Pocket Day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank You! to the following volunteers from UGA:

Steve Colquitt

Carol Capitani

Tim Cearley

Julie Clark

Jay Clark

George Cleare

Sara Bradburry

Manuel Diaz

Kelley Hester

Todd Grantham

Claire Foggin

Greg McGarity

Also many thanks for donating the following books:

You Read to Me I’ll Read to You: very short fables to read together

A Dazzling Display of Dogs

Messing Around on the Monkey Bars

The Underwear Salesman

Every Second Something Happens

The Wonder Book

Change Up

One Big Rain

Our Farm

The Carnival of the Animals


Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets

PreK Poets in Action

Recently, I blogged about a collaborative project that I did with a Prek classroom creating shape poem.  Over the past few days, these students have been coming to our BTV studio to record their poetry.  Students practiced reading their poems before coming to the studio, but many chose to add additional words to their poems or even change the words when they read their poems.  This is something that they try in their centers in the classroom.  They have a center option of doing freestyle poetry.  You can listen to Ms. Spurgeon’s introduction of the poetry project and the Prek poets by clicking the links below.

Ms. Spurgeon’s Introduction

PreK Poets 1

PreK Poets 2

PreK Poets 3

Joyce Sidman Poetry Study

An amazing opportunity came through my email a few weeks ago when Jennifer Graff, co-chair of the Children’s Literature Assembly Breakfast at NCTE, was looking for student poetry inspired by Joyce Sidman, the keynote speaker at the breakfast.  I immediately agreed to work with students on a poet study because Joyce Sidman is one of the poets that most inspires me as a writer.

I sent out an email to teachers with possibilities for this study.  Here were some options:

  • Read Red Sings From the Treetops: A Year in Colors and write poems about colors in the various seasons
  • Read Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors and write poems and informational text about things in nature that have survived the test of time
  • Read Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night and write poems and informational text about plants and animals of the night
  • Read multiple books by Joyce Sidman and write poetry that was inspired by the elements of her poetry

Each one of these options could involve multiple forms of technology or be done with paper and pencil.  So far, one teacher has completed a Joyce Sidman collaboration with me and another has signed up to begin in late April.

I collaborated with Ms. Olin, my former paraprofessional and now student teacher, to read multiple poems from Joyce Sidman’s books and talk about “noticings” from each of the poems.  We looked at things like similes, repetition, rhythm, shape, form, word choice, and more.  Students decided to write poems about nature since much of Sidman’s work is nature and science based.  They took photographs of flowers, trees, and other nature around our school and also searched on Creative Commons for images.  Students wrote poems at the media center tables and conferenced with me, Ms. Olin, Ms. Biehl, and their teacher, Mrs. Selleck.   Finally, students used Photo Story to import their pictures, add text and music, and record their voices reading their poems.

These poems and others created in the coming weeks will be played at the Children’s Literature Assembly Breakfast at NCTE in Chicago.  I’m so excited that our students’ work will have this authentic audience to appreciate their creative endeavors.  You can get a sneak peek at some of the poems by clicking these links.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.