Fourth graders have been working on a poetry project for a few weeks now. The goal was to write poem based in the science standards of light and sound and incorporate figurative language. The teachers also wanted students to use some kind of technology for the project. I decided to use a tool called Thinglink because it allows you to take an image and make it interactive. You can put multiple related links on one image to create a transmedia experience, which means that the poem is experienced across multiple platforms. We thought students could explore their poem in different ways: informational text, video, image, and poetry text. Other options could have included song, online games, and ebooks related to the poem’s topic.
The sequence of lessons looked something like this:
- Lesson 1: Look at onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, and personification in several mentor poems and then do a poetry dig in poetry books to find more examples of that figurative language.
- Lesson 2: Look at specific poems that focus on light and sound. Examine the science standards and the idea of “found poetry” so that students might incorporate language from the standard in their poem. Begin writing poems.
- Lesson 3: Finish writing poems in Google doc and begin Thinglink project. This lesson took longer than we expected because students had to setup a Youtube Channel, create a Thinglink account, search for a creative commons image, and change the privacy setting on their Google Doc. We did this step by step together.
- Lesson 4: Create a Thinglink. The goal was to have an image with links to the Google doc, a video of the student reading the poem, and links to informational sites about the topic of the poem.
This was a fun project, but because there were so many accounts to log in to, it made the progress slow down significantly. Students had a hard time remembering all of the steps that it took to login to multiple accounts at the same time and navigate back and forth between multiple tabs to get the links that they needed. I think it really opened our eyes to some skills we need to focus on at the beginning of the year in order to make projects like this successful.
As students finished their work, they submitted their poem in a Google form and I added it to our Smore webpage of interactive poetry images. Smore was very easy to use and a great way to collect and display a whole grade level’s work. As students submitted their links, I copied the link and then embedded it on the Smore page with one click. Then, on the Google spreadsheet, I highlighted the student’s name so that I knew I had already added their work.
I encourage you to take a look at the students’ work on our Smore page. We could have made this project much more complex, but it was a great first step. I think a second round of Thinglink would be much smoother.