Day 4: Poetry, Purpose, and Technology


We started the day with an excellent presentation on poetry units.  Here are the "gems" I picked up.
  • You have the right to talk when you write.  This translates into students working as groups, recording answers/responses throughout their discussions
  • There are many different poem patterns that deal specifically with parts of speech.  Teaching verbs?  Why not use a verb poem?
  • Blogs can be used as a safe, productive, and inspiring workspace for students.  The teacher presenting hosts a blog for her classroom that students use to post their poems, comment on poems, and vote for whose is the best.  Even other teachers and principals can join in on the fun.
  • Make and post interactive word lists for students.  We were given two words: contemplate and rise.  We first took a few moments to list words that rhymed, organized in a chart by syllables.  Then we had the chance to jot down our favorites on post-its and attach them to the appropriate posters.
  • Let students hear from other poets!  We watched a video of a poet talking about the power of poetry in primary grades and the amazing results it can provoke.  Showing students the same clip can be a powerful motivational tool.


Our next presentation focused on the idea of writing with a purpose in mind, rather than a formula.  We looked at examples of student work that followed the "tried and true" formulas we've all seen before, but were not quality or even passing pieces.  Then we discussed the different types of purpose and the differences between them.  The teacher presenting explained an assignment he created that had no rubric, no checklist, no formula.  Instead, he presented his students with an article and a detailed purpose to use and write about the information found in the article.  The results were astonishing and the writing improved tremendously.  Students weren't writing to get it over with, get the grade, or satisfy the teacher.  Students wrote for a purpose, which was much more meaningful and successful.


Our tech liaison for the summer presented a wide variety of online tools and resources.  Among them were, (a safer version of YouTube), and  The most interesting to me was  This website allows users to take PowerPoint presentations to a whole new level.  Teachers can present information in a more dynamic, engaging, and exciting way.  I've already signed up to create my presentation for the UCIWP, and can't wait to share!

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