We’ve been having a lot of fun with found poetry during poetry month. We started with book spine poems, and we will try some blackout poems very soon. Today we explored magnetic poetry. When students were making book spine poems, there were several times that they really wanted to move one or two words around or there was one word that was missing that they really wanted to add. Magnetic poetry gave them so much more flexibility in that aspect.
Mrs. Ramseyer’s 2nd grade was the first class to try this poetry this year. We started by using the nature poetry on the magnetic poetry website. I liked doing this type of poetry after book spine because students quickly saw that they really had to think about how to put groups of words together that made sense. Books already had the words put together and students just had to decide which books and what order. Magnetic poetry requires students to start with a bank of words and somehow make sense out of them. We played around on the board trying to put groups of words together. We knew that we could throw words back into the bank if we didn’t need them. Students had many ideas of what should go together, which meant many disagreements as well. This was a great type of poetry to do alone.
I showed students the Word Mover app on the iPad, which essentially is like magnetic poetry. Word Mover has an iPad and android version and comes to us from Read Write Think. There are a few options. Students can choose a word bank or choose from several famous speeches and songs that can be remixed into a poem. There is also an option to make your own words, but I discouraged students from starting with the “my own words” category since that would stray from the idea of found poetry. What we all loved was that you could add any word no matter which word bank you chose.
Once students selected their word bank, they started dragging words onto the work space and arranging them. Any words could go into the trash can to put them back in the bank. Students could shuffle the words in the word bank or even get a bank of new words.
The teacher and I wandered around the media center chatting with students about what they were thinking. As with any kind of writing, some students were naturals at this kind of poetry while others had to start over a few times. Some of the students who chose speeches and songs like America the Beautiful and I Have a Dream had a hard time remixing rather than just copying the original.
Mrs. Ramseyer and I both noticed that students were writing their poetry as if it was one long sentence or paragraph. Once students told us “I’m done”, we asked them to read their poem aloud. As we heard them pause in their reading, we suggested that those pauses might be where their line breaks should go. Students spent a bit of time rearranging their poem so that it was in lines that naturally flowed for the reader.
If time allowed, students chose a background and added a title to their poem. Some students even figured out that you could change the color and font of the words.
Once poems were done, students saved them to the camera roll on the iPads so that you could enjoy them here.