Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Look Back at the Week: Writing with Students + Creative Poetry

This week I have done one of my favorite things, not just once but twice, with my students: writing!  When I was in high school, I hated writing - it was actually the thing I feared most about becoming an English teacher. I never felt like I could do it well and as a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I wanted it to be perfect, but new I couldn't be.  I had no idea how to write well and then how to teach it.  Then I met Dr. Tom Romano.  Oh, TomRom.  And my eyes were opened to a beautiful world.

He taught me - to pre-write, to be creative, to fail, to rewrite, to scrap all you've started with, to brainstorm some more, to draw and do things in a way that worked for me, to choose words with power and persuasion.  Then he modeled for me by writing with me - how to teach my students all this.   He wrote beside me.

I don't get to write with my students as often as I wish.  Between all the new paperwork, the lesson planning with a new prep, grading, and life - I usually put it off.  However, this week, I channeled my inner TomRom and wrote with my students.  And I LOVED IT!

Here is a look at my writing week :


        Freshman: Reviewed Formal Writing with a sorting activity - What's Hot and What's Not

After spending time looking through freshman papers this past weekend, I realized how much their formal papers needed to work on formal language and word choice.  Before having my students revise a piece, we spend some time deciding what was "hot" writing (formal) and "not hot" writing (informal).    I am now in love with sorting activities when I need to introduce something very factual to students.  Rather than using a powerpoint to introduce the info - students made decisions about where they thought it should go - in partners and physically moved the correct answer where it went (good for tactile learners!).  Students interacted with the info, I verbally reviewed it, and then we applied it to our writing.  I just wish I would have modeled this for them as well!  


Juniors: Creating a Facebook Profile for Character Development in the Crucible

My juniors created some hilarious Facebook profiles for the characters in The Crucible - they showed great thinking in a creative way!  So fun! Wish I would have wrote with them on this one!  


Freshman: Mood + Blackout Art Poetry

My students are so afraid of poetry - so I'm creatively integrating poetry writing into our curriculum.  We will push that fear out! :) 

We have been working on mood in short stories and we transferred that skill over to poetry on Tuesday using a t-chart.  On Wednesday, I created Blackout Art Poetry for the students using the poem "The Sharks" by Denise Levertov - I circled the words that I felt best fit the mood of the poem and then "blacked out/colored out" all the other words by creating a picture behind it.  My poem beautifully showed the mood of the poem- dark fear I named it - when complete.  I even had a student say that is soooo much scarier than her poem!  My students then created them from the poem "Egg Horror Poem" by Laurel Winters - a hilarious, chilling personified poem.  It was so much fun!  Below are some of the most creative pieces.  The poems really show the imagery of fear and the personification of humor.  Students also had to explain their choice of colors, lines, and images and how those fit the mood they identified in the poem - great standards based activity for RL.9-10.4 :) 


a no writing day :( 


Juniors: Character Poems (The Crucible

Once again, even my juniors are scared of poetry - or they think all poetry rhymes - so we are creatively integrating poetry creation into our lessons.  

Character Poems take the lines from the text and combine them in a pattern to show the reader who the character is.  My poem is below - it's for Abigail Williams: 

This poem, I hope, shows who Abigail is as a character in the play.  The lines she says are italicized (like her thoughts) and the lines other characters say are regular.  
The students search the play for lines of both the character and other characters that showcase who their character is as a person.  They then place the lines in an call and response format- not necessarily following the plot, but in a way that allows for the reader to see who the character is.  These lines are from both Act I and Act III, yet they bounce back and forth and multiple characters respond to Abigail even though they are not in the play when she says what she says. 
I loved this and am so excited for my students to finish their poems and present them in class!

See my TpT store for the lesson on Character Poetry

If you would like to learn more about writing with your students in a beautiful and passionate way - check out Penny Kittle's book Write Beside Them and her website  Reading this book does not make you feel like you are reading research or educational resources - it is more like an open window into Penny's classroom and her soul.  I read this in Dr. Romano's class and it made my writing soul flourish. I was able to meet her at NCTE in 2011!  She is phenomenal! 

How do you write with your students???? 



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