I spent my first couple of years teaching middle school ELA in downtown Los Angles. Those years were ripe with the creativity and energy of my own youth. One of my fondest memories of that time was a hip hop poetry unit from authors Sitomer and Cirelli. The unit taught poetic devices like imagery, figurative language, and hyperbole with music selections from Tupac, Run DMC, and Eminem along with poems by Frost, Hughes, and Kipling. My young students identified with the themes and appreciated the cultural relevance of the curriculum.
I'm excited today to share Collaborize Classroom, one of my favorite online resources for students and teachers. Collaborize Classroom is an online discussion board that is safe, private, and geared especially toward secondary classrooms. I use this site to deepen classroom discussion, teach online communication skills, get my grading done faster, and ensure inclusive student participation. It is also a great way to improve student writing and brainstorm before essay assignments. This video blog will briefly describe setting up the site and feature my favorite parts of this system from a teacher perspective. If you have questions, or suggestions, we'd love to hear about them in the comment section below. Thanks!
To celebrate National Poetry Month (in April), I thought I would share some fun poetry ideas to get those creative juices flowing! Last year at this time, I posted Thirty Poetry Project Ideas for National Poetry Month, so this year, I thought I would introduce some poetry ideas you may never have tried – or even heard of!
Here is a fabulous characterization idea, based on the artwork of Darren Booth! I saw a similar idea on Pinterest, pinned by Rebekah Lyell, who had her students create them for an "identity" unit on themselves. I saw that, and thought, what a great idea to incorporate characterization, getting deeper into the thoughts and perspective of the character!
Years ago, while sifting through paperwork I happened upon my old “Poem Report,” dated May 24, 1989! While the memories of working so hard to perfect my original poetry (not to mention my handwriting, since I didn’t own a computer then) came flooding back, I was able to flip through the pages with different eyes at that time—the eyes of a new teacher. I was blessed to have so many great teachers, and although I never could remember which teacher assigned the Poem Report, I was finally able to honor her by assigning my students their own project to explore great poetry and discover their own inner poet.