Kicking Off Poetry Lessons for Poetry Month: Blackout Poetry

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I love to do poetry throughout the year, but April always brings an increase in poetry lessons since it is National Poetry Month.  It’s also the month that we have Poem In Your Pocket Day across 2 days at our school.

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Our 2nd grade has been busy with poetry in these first few days of the month.  They’ve already explored list poetry and now they are trying a kind of poetry called “blackout poetry”.  This poetry was invented by Austin Kleon when he had a case of writer’s block and started using the New York Times to help him write his poetry.  You can see a time lapse video of Austin’s process, which we showed to each class before we started.

Blackout poetry is a kind of found poetry because it uses words that were created by someone else.  You put boxes around the words that you want to use in the poem and then blackout everything else.  You can find your text in so many different places:  instruction manuals, pages from books, newspapers, junkmail, old tests,……the list could go on and on.

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Two classes at a time came to the library for this lesson.  We started by looking at the video as well as some examples of blackout poems online.  Then, we talked a bit about what we noticed about the process.  Austin Kleon put boxes around words that he thought he might use.  He tried to find words that seemed to go together.  We noticed that there were times where he was sitting and thinking without marking anything on the page.  We also noticed that he blacked out some of the words that he originally thought he would use.

We encouraged students to try out this same process at tables.  Since 2nd grade is working on animal and plant life cycles and habitats, we selected a few pages from a variety of animal and plant books and made multiple copies of them.  Students sat at a page that looked interesting to them.  The teachers and circulated to assist students as needed.

Most students jumped right in, but a few needed some help getting started.  One of the things that I did to help students was just to talk out loud about what I would do if I was writing the poem.  I said words that seemed to have a connection with one another and then scanned the page for more words that fit with those words (and so on).  Most of the time this nudged students to start.

As students finished selecting their words, they used crayons, color pencils, regular pencils, and markers to blackout their page.  Then, they practiced reading their poems.  Some shared with one another.

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Other students decided to use our poetry Flipgrid to record their poems.

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Click the picture to visit our poems!

Many of these students will carry these poems in their pockets on Poem In Your Pocket Day.  I love seeing how students break down the text to create a new meaning.

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Poem In Your Pocket Day 2013 is Coming!

We are so excited that National Poetry Month is already here!  In just 2 weeks, we will be celebrating Poem In Your Pocket Days.  On April 11th & 12th, students in every class will come to the library to our open microphone poetry cafe.  The tables will be setup with tablecloths, lanterns, and poetry books.  A stool and microphone will be available for students to come up and read their original and favorite poetry for their class to hear.  Once again, we will be broadcasting all of this live online via Adobe Connect.  This has become a very special event for students because they are able to get their writing and favorite poems out to a much larger audience.  When people type comments in the chat feature of Adobe Connect, I always share those with students in the moment.  It creates a big pulse of energy in the group.  We’ve had family, friends, and other schools tune in from as far away as Afghanistan and England and as close by as the classroom next to us!  We hope you will join us to listen to our poems and leave some comments.  Here is the schedule:

  Thursday April 11, 2013                                               

Time Class
 8:30 3rd Shealey
9:00 1st Wyatt
9:30 1st Watson
10:00 1st Hart
10:30 4th Selleck
11:00 2nd Wright
11:30 4th Freeman
12:00 1st Stuckey
12:30 1st Em
1:00 2nd Brink
1:30 K Hocking
2:00 2nd Yawn

 

Friday April 12, 2013

Time Class
8:00 5th Cross
8:30 K Carney
9:00 K Boyle
9:30 K Li
10:00 PreK Doneda
10:30 3rd Spurgeon
11:00 4th Olin
11:30 K Vertus
12:00 5th Slongo
12:30 PreK Clarke
1:00 2nd Ramseyer
1:30 3rd Griffith

 

To login to Adobe Connect, follow these instructions:

Leading up to the event, we are having an original poetry contest.  All entries are due by this Friday and prizes/certificates will be awarded in multiple categories in PreK-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th grades.

Students and teachers are also contributing to a crowd sources poem that I will carry in my pocket on Poem In Your Pocket Day called “Our Library is Not a Quiet Place”.  They are submitting lines through a Google Form.  You are welcome to submit lines, too.  Just go to this link.

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2012 (Part 2)

We had more wonderful poetry readings today.  We also had guests tuning in from India, Seattle, Chicago, Belvidere, Florida, North Carolina, and a media center in Lexington, KY.  The students loved extending their listening audience and hearing their warm comments.  You can listen to today’s archives at the links below:

Mrs. Slongo’s 5th grade

Mrs. Cross’s 5th grade

Mrs. Carney’s Kindergarten

Mrs. Hocking’s PreK

Mrs. Spurgeon’s 3rd grade

Mrs. McCannon’s 3rd grade

Mrs. Griffith’s 3rd grade

Mrs. Clarke’s PreK

Ms. Olin’s 4th grade

Mrs. Freeman’s 4th Grade

Mrs. Selleck’s 4th Grade

 

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Poem In Your Pocket Day 2012 (Part 1)

Today, 14 classes came to our poetry cafe to read their original and favorite poems.  Many people attended via Adobe Connect:  parents, grandparents, other Barrow classrooms, and more.  If you missed the day or want to relive it, you can view the archives below.

Mrs. Sheppard’s 2nd Grade

Mrs. Hart’s 1st Grade

Mrs. Wyatt’s 1st Grade

Mrs. Em’s Kindergarten

Mrs. Li’s Kindergarten

Mrs. Watson’s 1st Grade

Mrs. Stuckey’s 1st Grade

Mrs. Shealey’s 3rd Grade

Mrs. Brink’s 2nd Grade

Mrs. Brewer’s 2nd Grade

Mrs. Yawn’s 2nd Grade

Ms. O’Prey’s 5th Grade

Mrs. Boyle’s Kindergarten

Mrs. Vertus’s Kindergarten

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2nd Annual Barrow Media Center Poetry Contest

Our 3 top winners

Almost 90 students entered our 2nd annual poetry contest.  It was once again very tough to decide, but ultimately one overall winner was chosen for PreK-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, and 4th-5th grade.  Other winners were chosen in a variety of categories based on the elements of poetry and various forms of poetry.  Some of these awards included list poetry, rhyming poetry, acrostic poetry, descriptive poetry, story poetry, and unique poetry.

 

The winning Prek-1st poem from Diana:

 

The winning 2nd-3rd poem from Eli:

 

The winning 4th-5th poem from Emma:

 

Here’s a gallery of our other fantastic winners!

Poem In Your Pocket Day 2012 LIVE!

On Thursday April 12th & Friday April 13th, we invite you and your family members to tune in to our live poetry broadcast from the Barrow Media Center.  Every class will visit the media center to read original and favorite poetry into our open microphone.  You can view these readings via Adobe Connect online where you will see and hear the students and also type comments for the students.  To access the webcast, follow these instructions:

  • Visit http://clarkecounty.adobeconnect.com/barrowmediacenter
  • Select “Enter as Guest”, type your name, and click “Enter Room”.
  • Mr. Plemmons will approve you and you should be able to immediately see and hear the broadcast.
  • In the event that the image or sound suddenly disappear, just stay in the room and Mr. Plemmons will work to get everything reconnected.
  • If you have technical difficulties at your computer, you can type comments to Mr. Plemmons in the chat and he will do his best to assist you.
  • All poetry readings will be recorded and published on the Barrow Media Center blog soon after the event.  https://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com

We hope to “see” many of you (and your family members) at our live webcast.  It means so much to the students to know there is an audience listening and commenting on their work.  Mr. Plemmons will share any comments you leave with the students.

Schedule for Thursday April 12th                                           

Time Class
8:20 Sheppard-2nd
8:40 Hart-1st
9:00 Wyatt-1st
9:20 Em-K
9:40 Li-K
10:00 Watson-1st
10:20 Stuckey-1st
10:40 Shealey-3rd
12:20 Brink-2nd
12:40 Brewer-2nd
1:00 Yawn-2nd
1:20 O’Prey 5th
1:40 Boyle-K
2:00 Vertus-K

Schedule for Friday April 13

Time Class
8:00 Slongo-5th
8:20 Cross-5th
8:40 Carney-K
9:00 Hocking-Prek
9:20 Spurgeon-3rd
9:40 McCannon-3rd
10:00 Griffith-3rd
10:20 Clarke-PreK
10:40 Olin-4th
11:00 Freeman-4th
11:20 Selleck-4th


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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