During a collaborative planning meeting at the beginning of the quarter, 2nd grade all wanted to come to the library to learn about list poetry. We love to use the book Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems edited by Georgia Heard. We had a problem, though. It was hard to find a time on the calendar for each of the 4 classes to come. Rather than only serve a few of the classes or abandoning the project all together, I suggested that we use a Google Hangout to bring us all together for the same lesson and that we collaborate with one another on a Google Doc.
This was a perfect solution because it really served multiple purposes. All of these teachers were able to experience a Google Hangout for the first time. The students all heard the same information from me. All of the students saw how multiple people can collaborate on a Google doc without erasing one another’s work. It created more time on the library calendar for more classes to come for other projects rather than one project taking up 4 hour-long slots.
Yesterday, the teachers and I practiced after school for about 10 minutes. I’m glad we did this because it allowed me to work on some issues with sharing the hangout with them. I found that emailing teachers the link to join the hangout was much easier than inviting them via their Google Plus. We also had to install the Google Hangout plugin on all of their projectors. This didn’t take long, but it was much better to do without a group of students waiting.
Today, I sent out the link to the hangout. I also emailed the link to the shared Google doc so that teachers could have it pulled up on their screens. Mrs. Yawn’s class came to the library since they have a longterm sub. The other 3 classes tuned in from their own rooms. As the creator of the hangout, I had the hangout controls pulled up so that I could mute all microphones. This eliminates feedback from the projector speakers. If a class needs to speak, I (or even the teacher) can unmute the microphone. We could also communicate with one another via the chat.
I did a short mini lesson for all of the classrooms. I talked about the kinds of lists that we all make and how those can turn into poems with just a few added adjectives. I read Jane Yolen’s “In My Desk”. Then, I muted my microphone, shared my screen, and we all started writing lines to a new list poem called “Under My Bed”.
I shared the link to the document on Twitter, and we instantly had viewers watching our poem develop. This created a great discussion about how quickly something that is posted on the Internet can be seen because we literally had 8 viewers the second that I pressed “tweet”. Many more viewers came in and out of the document while we worked. The kids really liked knowing that they had an audience watching their poem come to life.
The students also loved watching the lines magically appear on the screen from all of the classrooms.
At the end, I called us all back together and read the poem aloud. It was amazing to hear how creative their lines were! To close, I invited students to spend some time in their classrooms revising the poem. There were several lines that were very similar so it was a natural follow-up to spend time deleting or combining lines.
Many students seemed interested in writing this kind of poetry in for our media center poetry contest. Students have 2 more weeks to submit a poem. I’m sure I’ll be reading several more list poems in the future. Here is our poem as it looked at the end of our hangout:
Under my bed
you will find…
Three old pacifiers from when we were babies.
Two pairs of stinky, dirty socks from my last soccer game.
A box of last years Christmas wrapping paper.
Last night’s dinner that I didn’t like.
My little brother.
A pair of destroyed Jordan’s.
My shiny diamond.
A toy skeleton that I bought last year for school.
Old, yucky trash.
A little brown shoebox with really old seashells.
My tiny puppy.
A Kidz Bop 25 CD.
Motorcycles, cars, crayons, American Girl Dolls, and stuffed animals.
A peach, toy train track,
Hidden laundry like dirty jeans and shirts.
New, blue jewelry I just bought.
Cheetah printed sneakers.
A very old picture of a dog I drew.
Old chewing gum.
Brown Pokemon cards covered in dust.
moldy, blue roller skates that don’t fit anymore
thousands of stuffed animals that belong to my dog
three feathery pillows that my dog chewed up
a beach ball that popped on a pointy shell at the beach
old shark teeth that are at least 500 years old
nasty, dead cockroaches smooched onto the floor
old baseball cards
five old socks, moldy carrots and clementines, and an old water bottle
muddy shoes from playing outside on the last rainy day
a scratched torn up bookbag that my cat ripped apart
a wrinkly gum wrapper
the teeth that I lost in kindergarten
some thank you cards I was supposed to send to my relatives last year
lots of old baby toys
big mushy bags of clothes I don’t wear anymore
crumply old pieces of paper
red and white basketballs
a black old tissue box
a humongous collection of cars
posters of basketball and soccer players
a nerf gun
the toon collection of children’s comics
a blue light-up yo-yo
a cow stuffed animal
pizza leftover from my sleepover
a huge broken clock
two bags of books
canvas travel bags
two huge blood shot eyes
a big fluffy stuffed animal
old scratched CDs
toys in a tank
a big fluffy gray cat
an annoying brother
old baby suitcases
books that I didn’t even know I had
crumbs from a cookie
dead cockroaches waiting for a pet to eat
an old collection of cricket heads
It’s amazing to discover
what’s under my bed