Collaborating Within Walls Using Google Hangouts: A List Poetry Lesson

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Last year, I tried something new with the 2nd grade.  My library schedule was packed and it was hard to get all 4 classes on the calendar, so I used Google Hangouts to teach all 4 classes at one time.  It was an experiment, but it proved to be a lot of fun and also showed the students and teachers how to use a Google Hangout and collaborate on a Google doc.

This year, we planned it again and added on a few layers.  One of our favorite kinds of poems to write is list poetry.  You take a list and add descriptive words to each item on the list so that the reader can experience the items on the list.  Our goal in our Google Hangout this time was to learn about list poetry, hear a mentor poem, practice list poetry together, and then create one collaborative list poem.

In advance, I setup a Google Hangout on Air.

 

I sent the link to the hangout to all of the teachers participating in the hangout.  I also created a blank Google Doc for our collaborative poem and shared editing rights with all 4 teachers.

 

I gave the blank doc a title and wrote each teacher’s name inside the doc to create a space for each class to add to the collaborative poem without writing on top of one another.

On the morning of the hangout, I emailed teachers a reminder that included the link to the doc as well as the direct link for  joining as a participant in the hangout.

At hangout time, I went in my office and awaited the classes.  As they entered, I did a sound check to make sure microphones were working.  Then I used the control panel in Hangouts to mute all of their microphones to eliminate feedback.

I opened our lesson by reading from Falling Down the Page, list poems collected by Georgia Heard.  We focused on “In my Desk” by Jane Yolen.  I pointed out how she gave describing words for each item found in her desk so that we would be able to picture it or experience it.  I built on the reactions of students to the line about a “great big hunk of rotting cheese” found in a lunch box.  These kinds of words cause us to react which is exactly what we want in a poem.

Next, I opened up a blank doc and started writing a grocery list:  bread, milk, eggs, cereal.  Then I assigned each word to one of the 4 classes and had them brainstorm describing words to add to each item on my list.  Each class had a chance to speak in the hangout as I added our words to the poem.

Finally, I invited all of the classes to work on a collaborative poem about things under our beds.  Each teacher facilitated the work in their own classrooms.  I checked in from time to time to give an update on when we would stop working.  Then, each class read their stanza of the poem to close out our time.

While we were writing, I invited people on Twitter to watch the doc in construction.  We had lots of viewers engaged in our work in progress, and students loved being published authors with one tweet.

Viewers

You can watch the whole thing here:

This lesson certainly saved me time in the library to give to other classes who needed a lesson, but it was much more than that.  Rather than having each class in the grade level feel isolated, this lesson allowed them to unite together to create a piece of writing that immediately reached an audience outside of our school.  It allowed us to collaborate within the walls of our school without the disruption of shuffling kids from class to class.  It gave each class a space to think and work with one another and also a space for all classes to work together.  I don’t think that every lesson would work in this type of setup, but it does make me curious to think about when this type of learning is the better choice than scheduling each class individually.

Under My Bed

By Barrow 2nd graders

Under my bed you will find…

 

(Yawn’s Stanza)

Slimey Socks

Lost High Fives

Stuffed animals, toys, and books

Scraps of paper

Remote control plane

Hairy, mad Tarantula

Dusty Boogers

Junky Legos

Clothes and shoes and jackets

Hairy Monkey Eyes with a big chin

Tv, coke can, and baseball cards

Football cards and a zipline

Dirty underwear, rotten bread, and an old sandwich

 

(Ramseyer’s Stanza)

Two fat picture books

A fake diamond sword

My playful black kitten

Giant Lego parts

Huge dead bugs in the corner

A stinky, rainbow sock

A blue crate filled with Adidas shoes

A chewed up puppy stuffed animal

 

(Brink’s Stanza)

Hiding under my bed with my big, hairy monster

you will find

smelly dead cockroaches and dust bunnies

old paper candy wrappers

a big purple three horned monster

basketball shoes

an empty shoebox and an old toy

a skeleton reaching for water

a stinking mummy, rotten eggs, and a stinky sock

cuddly stuffed animals

a golden chair, medals, trophies

smooth rocks I found in the street

lost, overdue library books

a racing track

paper plates

 

(Wright’s Stanza)

Under my bed, I look and see

Flattened books

moldy food

cute and sleepy puppies

old broken legos I used to play with

misplaced and forgotten toys

and ripped, dirty money

 

So many things under my bed.

 

Following this lesson, I did a very similar lesson with one Kindergarten class in person.  We didn’t do the hangout, but we did share our work with the Internet so that students’ voices were already reaching an audience even in their beginning steps of writing.  It was so much fun to get a comment from one of the viewers of the doc.

 

 

List Poetry Google Hangout with 2nd Grade

list poems (1)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.

list poems (6)

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”.

List Poem by 2nd Grade   Google Drive

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.

list poems (5) list poems (4) list poems (3)

The students also loved watching the lines magically appear on the screen from all of the classrooms.

list poems (2)

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:

 

Foam Letter U letter N Vintage Sticker Letter D letter E R

 Vintage Sticker Letter M letter Y

Britten Shopping Centreletter EFret Saw Letter D

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

old notebooks

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

 

 

 

 

Poetry Lessons 2012

We’ve once again been busy in the media center preparing for our annual “Poem in My Pocket” day.  We have stretched the event across 2 days, April 12 & 13 to create a 20 minute space for each class to come to the library and read their original and favorite poems into our open mic at a poetry cafe.  We will once again broadcast the event live via Adobe Connect.  You are welcome to attend virtually on those 2 days (schedule will be posted soon) by visiting http://clarkecounty.adobeconnect.com/barrowmediacenter

Some of our poetry lesson ideas can be found by visiting http://technopoetry.wikispaces.com/.

This year, I’ve been using Poll Everywhere a lot to craft list poems  with whole classes.  After looking at several mentor texts, the students each create one line in a list poem about “Things in Our Desks”.  The idea is to choose one item in your desk and add some describing words in front of the noun to make the line sound more poetic.  Using the iPads, the students submit their line for the poem.  All lines appear on the smart board, and we read the poem together and talk about revisions we might make if we were to finalize the poem.  I’ve also been using Poll Everywhere to create shape poems.  Students submit their description of a cat.  Then, I copy all of their lines and paste them into Tagxedo and put them into a cat shape.  Before the class leaves, I print a copy of the poem for them to take with them.

Our 5th graders have been working on a collaborative project between the media center and art.  Students are taking digital photographs of themselves, altering the photos in Picnik (before it disappears), and writing an autobiographical poem inspired by their photograph.

Our 5th graders have also been learning about many elements of poetry such as rhyme scheme, alliteration, personification, similes, metaphor, hyperbole, and more.  After looking at each element and hearing multiple poems that showcase different structures of poetry, the students have a poetry scavenger hunt through stacks and stacks of poetry books in order to find each of the elements that we discussed.

We are also hosting our 2nd annual poetry contest.  Students have been busy submitting their poems for judging on Monday April 9th.  We hope to have all poems judged prior to Poem in Your Pocket Day.

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