Category Archives: #poetrychat

The Pedagogy of Poetry Instruction: Join us for #PoetryChat

img_0341-1I have had the joy of watching Amy get revved up about a variety of teaching topics, but I’ve never seen her with a brighter glow than when she talks about her experience at The Frost Place.  Their Conference on Poetry and Teaching is an amazing opportunity for teachers, readers, and writers of poetry to experience the “reading-conversation-writing-revision cycle” that is so central to conference director Dawn L. Potter‘s poetic philosophy.

I’ve been reading much of Dawn’s aforementioned poetic philosophy, and seeing it in practice, in her book The Conversation–which is blowing my mind.  A thick, wordy tome with small print offset by the white space so signature to poetry, the book is full of wisdom that is the conversationrevolutionizing how I view the teaching of poetry.

As such, we are thrilled to have Dawn as our guest during March 7’s #PoetryChat, where she (and other chat participants) will converse about how to teach poetry.  Dawn’s expertise as a teacher and poet are incredible, and we can’t wait to hear her thoughts on our questions, and see her responses to chat participants’ questions as well.

Below are our questions for the chat–please share any that you have in the comments, and join us Monday, March 7 at 7 CT/8 ET for this month’s #PoetryChat on the pedagogy of poetry instruction.

  1. What poets and poems inspire(d) your love of poetry?
  2. What’s your best advice for helping students read and understand poetry?
  3. What’s your best advice for helping students WRITE poetry?
  4. How can teachers move away from poetry units and toward embedding poetry in ALL instruction?
  5. What is the best way to help make poetry relatable (and not intimidating) to its readers?
  6. As a poet, how do you approach reading poetry?
  7. What are your thoughts on revision?

Share your questions in the comments, and join us for the chat

Grateful November and a give-a-way for you

Sometimes thank you has to be enough.

Last evening I joined in #poetrychat and learned from 28 teachers from various parts of the U.S. and Canada about how to more effectively teach grammar by using poetry. Chats like this inspire me, and I want to be a better teacher. Tomorrow I will share this poem with my students as we begin argumentative writing:  The Joy of Writing by Wislawa Szymborska, my new-found favorite poet.

Thanks to all of you who’ve joined in our monthly chats about poetry. I am a better poet, and poetry teacher, than I was last May when TTT started hosting the monthly poetry chat.

Also, I am a better teacher because of you, the readers of this blog. I teach with more intention because I know I will write about the lessons, activities, books, and other resources I use with my students.

Audience matters to every writer, and I consider it a gift that my audience is also my muse. Thank you for your questions that inspire such deep thinking and so many posts.

May November bring a sense of gratitude and rich blessings in the lives of each of our readers. Thank you for your confidence in us as we share the experiences, lessons, and activities from our workshop classrooms.

So what’s the give-a-way already?

Shana, Jackie, and I met online last week to talk about our goals for this blog and how we can support you more fully. We might be able to help more if you give us some direction. So —

We know it’s not much, but it will buy a few books: We’re giving away one $25 Amazon gift card.

Just complete the short 3-5 minute survey, and you’ll be entered automatically. We’ll choose a winner randomly on November 10 and let the winner know via Twitter or email.

 

 

 

#PoetryChat – Boys & Poetry – Monday, August 3 8ET

IMG_8888This week, the writers of Three Teachers Talk are together in Durham, New Hampshire at the UNH Literacy Institutes.  For five days now, we’ve learned with Penny Kittle and Tom Newkirk about strengthening our practice and our thinking.

Newkirk’s class, centered around his Misreading Masculinity (2001), is focused on boys and literacy.  We’ve read and discussed issues of violence, humor, personality, sexuality, power, and more–all surrounding boy readers and writers.

Join us to continue this conversation on the topic of poetry.  The four of us will be together in Portsmouth, ready to chat on Monday at 8ET.

1. How do you notice your boys responding to poetry in your classroom?

2. Should boys write poetry in an English class?

3. How is poetry uniquely valuable for boys?

4. How do you hook boys into poetry?

5. What are your best poems, poets, or poetry resources to engage your boys?

Poetry Chat August 3

Poems to Write Beside

Last evening was #poetrychat. We talked about poems that inspire writing. Here’s a list of all the poems mentioned. I wrote them in my notebook, and then I pinned them to my poetry board. Then I read and wrote a bit.

Eyes Fastened with Pins by Charles Simic

The Fall of Icarus by WC Williams

Musee des Beaux Arts by W. H Auden

This is Just to Say (a book) by Joyce Sidman

Making a Fist by Naomi Shihab Nye

Where Dreams Come From by Marge Piercy

Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon

Hailstones & Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neil (elementary)

(anything by Douglas Florian) (elementary)

Change by Charlotte Zolotow

Legacies by Nikki Giovanni

How to Live by Charles Harper Webb

A Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

(poems by Tony Medina and @SirJohnBennett and Claudia McKay)

The First Day by Joseph Green

Days by Billy Collins

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

(other poems by Billy Collins, Christina Rosetti, and Sandra Cisneros)

For the Young Who Want To by Marge Piercy

Possibilities by Wislawa Szymborska

Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

Do you have other favorites to write beside or to ask students to write beside? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

And Happy Writing!

I plan to read and write to one poem every day this month. I find it fulfilling. Strange word, maybe, but there it is. Once I get the pen moving, I can write for hours. That’s what I need is hours of writing time.

How and what are you writing this summer?

#PoetryChat Tonight, 8ET

poetry-prompts-rantLet’s talk poetry.

A few months ago, a pre-service teacher I know asked me to give her some feedback on a poetry unit she’d written.  Her mini-unit, a 25-page document filled mostly by her professor’s formatting requirements, troubled me for a few reasons.

First, as Amy established, poetry is more than a unit–it’s a powerful way of teaching linguistic precision, the art of writing, and the freedom of expression.  It shouldn’t be a two-week item to scratch off a curricular checklist.

Further, pre-planning a unit in such a detailed way takes the power out of learning. “You’re doing too much of the thinking in this unit, and your students aren’t doing enough,” I wrote to her. She had selected every poem, every genre, and every skill for her students to learn–in doing so, she took away a valuable opportunity for her students to seek out, evaluate, and share found and original poetry.

Second, this teacher’s unit was full of contradictions.  I loved seeing her ideas about including slam poetry, spine poems, blackout poetry, and other engaging, unique poetry possibilities.  However, I was confused by what seemed to be an obligation she felt to teach every literary and poetry term ever.  “Focus on getting your students to learn how to WRITE poetry by studying other AUTHORS of poetry,” I advised. “When Dickinson was writing poems, it wasn’t because she was like ‘oooh I love metaphors’–it was because she had a broken heart.”

In teaching poetry, it seems like too many of us are yoked to an antiquated view of poetry–metaphors, dactyls, metric feet.  We are focused too much on the HOW of poetry, and not enough on the WHY.  As we teach our students, let’s focus on them as poets, not simple readers of poems.

Join us tonight at 8ET for a #poetrychat about ways to transform our students into poets by getting poetry off our shelves and into their hands, introducing them to mentor authors, and encouraging play with nontraditional poetry forms.

#PoetryChat Questions:

Warm-Up: Your favorite line or phrase from a loved poem

1. Why do you think many students find poetry intimidating or inaccessible?

2. When you teach poetry, how do you balance the students’ READING of poetry and WRITING of poetry?

3. What are your favorite genres of nontraditional poetry (prose poetry, spine poems, etc.)?

4. Who are your favorite mentor poets? How do you use them to teach your students?

5. What can our students gain from novels in verse? What are your favorite in-verse titles?

6. Let’s finish by sharing our most successful poetry teaching stories. What’s yours?

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