Bringing Poetry to Life
1 The hook: Students are asked to bring in the lyrics from their favorite song.
Have students write the lyrics they have chosen out into a word document. Then have them separate the song into sections. Is there a chorus? Do any lines repeat? Rhyme? Students are beginning to look at the structure of their favorite song in terms of poetic devices. At this point, the teacher can introduce poetic terms such as stanzas, and end rhyme. At the end of this activity student should have made decisions of what to cluster together (in a stanza), how to give the lyrics shape on the page, and where the lines end. Once they have shared the decisions they made in shaping the lyrics on the page (in small groups) they are ready to start looking at the poetry of others.
2 Direct Instruction
At this point we read a lot of poems. We practice using poetic terminology to talk about what we like and what we notice. We use SOAPStone to work out the meaning. Speaker Occasion Audience Purpose Structure Tone We look for what I call "The Big But", the Volta of the poem, where a shift in tone may occur.
3 Guided Practice
Students begin mimicking the poetic devices we have found in the poems we have read. I assign 3-4 devices for them to try in their original poem. For instance, write a poem with at least 3 stanzas, four lines per stanza, with a simile in it. We do this over and over again, practicing the vocabulary of poetic devices. Students then either write a new poem or revise one of their previous poems making choices of which poetic device they will use. They label the devices on the copy they submit to be graded. They are graded on the correct identification of the device, not the content of the poem.
4 Creating a Multi-media Poetry Presentation
Students choose a poem either that they wrote or that they have read and really enjoyed. They are going to record their voice reading the poem using Audacity. The trick with Audacity is that you must export the recording, not save it. If you save the recording it is saved an Audacity file. When you export it, it is saved as a .wav file which can be uploaded into WeVideo. The value I have found in this project, and in this part of the project particularly, is that students must read and record their voice many times before they get the take they will use. We discuss tempo and tone in their voice and matching that to the meaning of the poem. Students then use Storyboard That to create a rough outline of the images they would like to match up with their poem. Common Sense Media has a great lesson called Rights, Remixes and Respect that helps students understand Fair Use and Copy Right rules as they choose images for their video. Students then upload their images to WeVideo which is an awesome video editing program. It is very easy to use and has many special effects, themes, transitions and music that students can use to create a poetry video. Students share their finished videos with the class. For years I taught poetry and had students tell me they hated poetry because they didn't get the hidden meaning of the poem. But these video projects allow students share their interpretation of a poem through music, and images.