Monday, June 29, 2015

Blogging the Day- Personal Learning Biographies and Poetry

SMWP ‘15
Monday June 24, 2015
Blogged by Mary Dunn

Stephanie Marshall fellow from last year’s institute is here today. She is a writing mentor.

Opening - Reading by Steven King, “On Writing” – “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” pg. 145

10 min tech – TMT (Ten Minute Tech) – Kahoot! – can use any devise and don’t need an account to play.  join at:   Kids sign  in and play multiple choice game/quiz. We played a fairly basic geo game today. You can see how many kids pick each choice.  You can find quizzes or make quizzes to play. Very engaging. Kids like it. Teachers like it.

white dog fell from the sky  - Tomorrow bring your book, white dog fell from the sky by Eleanor Morse, if you have one, for signing as she will be speaking to us. If you don’t they will be available for purchase.

Learning Autobiographies were shared by Stephan, Diane, Heidi, and Kate.

Portfolio work - Worked with Google Sites for making portfolio. Look on blog for examples. Idea is to put reflection letter on home page.


Blogged by Kelli Hlavacek

Poetry Workshop
After lunch began with a Poetry Workshop with Rebecca Redlon , who led us through the speed-dating version of her Poetry Tools to help us "make it work in our classrooms." After confessing to years of teaching poetry with dread, she began the workshop reminding us that for students to connect to poetry they just need help getting over the fear so that they can understand the poems from the inside, which helped her to develop the following techniques based on the following BASICS that students need:
  1. words
  2. imagination (something they already have, but may need coaching to rekindle)
  3. imagery (what it is and how to create it)
  4. sound (and the role it plays in poetry)
  5. props to get started
We then went through a variety of "warm ups" to prep us for our poetry inspiration which included playing with words and sounds (through a listing exercise that simply started with the word "cucumber") to a prescribed poem format to help us play with imagery and figurative language. Then she introduced her props, paint chips, where we got to use the paint names as inspiration. Addmitedly, some people eagerly explored without waiting for direction, and there was a lot of laughter with this activity as people read aloud the paint names with partners. Finally, we created Found Poems out of randomly selected pages from newspaper articles as we frantically tried to "turn our brains off" and pick words or phrases that stood out.


Learning Autobiographies
We then transitioned back into the remaining Learning Autobiographies: Sue, Jana, and Erin where Sue first touched us all by sharing letters she had found from her past and the lessons she had learned from each. Jana then dynamically shared her journey juggling motherhood and a new job until finally returning back to where she started, only a decade later, teaching in Portland High School. Lastly, Erin shared her learning autobiography through letters she had written to the women who had shaped her life.

Closing Moments
After much struggle, I ended up sharing a poem that Kerstin found, and that was coinsidentily referenced by Rebecca:

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem   
and hold it up to the light   
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem   
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room   
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski   
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope   
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose   
to find out what it really means.

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