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.
On Tuesday, I published a prezi video tutorial for teachers that detailed many of the bells and whistles of prezi.com and went through how to create a prezi from scratch. I think it is important to understand the underpinnings and inner-workings of any tool we use in the classroom, especially if we assign students to make them. However, I'm also a full-time English teacher and mother with papers to grade, meetings to attend, and blocks to build, so today I created a video that shows how I create a full class period prezi in less than 15 minutes. My hope is to show you that prezi can seamlessly create multi-media lessons that can be saved and tweaked for future lessons, saving time in the long run.
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.