March 28, 2014

Be Ready: Pack a poem in your pocket

Filed under: learning,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:05 am

Name (or recite) your favorite poem. No, you cannot run away or close this tab.poempocket

I hear you now…

  • I don’t have one.
  • I can’t remember, but I’ll Google one.
  • I had once once, but that was in 5th grade.
  • Insert something from Shel Silverstein that you read to your kids last night or to your classroom today.
  • Who cares about poetry?
  • Common Core says we don’t teach poetry anymore.
  • I don’t teach English. Ask the English teacher.
  • Yeah, right. Like I have time for poetry with all the other stuff they lay on us.

Try this: For one week beginning April 1 (the first week of National Poetry Month), carry your favorite poem in your pocket or — even better — on your smart phone. Be ready. You could be asked by anyone, anytime to produce and recite it. Pack poetry in your pocket with tech. Create a QR code that directs to:

  • a YouTube video or SchoolTube video of someone reading your favorite poem
  • a music video of a song with lyrics you LOVE– yes, that’s poetry!
  • a web page with a favorite poem (or limerick?) that makes you laugh or cry
  • a recording of yourself  reading a favorite poem or reciting the lyrics from a favorite song (or singing it!)
  • a synthesized voice reading a poem you have pasted in
  • a web page montage you create of the poem and the images it generates in your mind
  • a video of YOU reciting a poem YOU wrote (posted on YouTube or any online video service)

When asked,”What is your favorite poem?” hold up the QR code (saved on your camera roll) so others  can scan the QR code to listen or read. As you ask others, collect their online offerings in your Diigo or post the QR codes from students on your class wiki or web page as a scannable “treasury” for others to explore.

Not ready for such high tech stuff? Find a special piece of paper to transcribe your favorite poem and flamboyantly unfurl it when asked. Maybe a scroll or a cleverly folded booklet?

Why bother? Elena Aguilar offers Five Reasons Why We Need Poetry in Schools, and I am sure there are many more. As stressed, overworked teachers, perhaps the most compelling for us to write our own poems may be her Reason #5:

Poetry builds resilience in kids and adults

Surely, a poem penned by a teacher– included at the end of this article — may resonate with other teachers seeking resilience.

Pack a poem in your pocket. Ask your students to do the same, whether you teach physics or first grade. Simply the act of valuing the power of poetry to express, visualize, and revitalize is reason enough.  You might even find yourself humming a song or bellowing its lyrics in the car on your way home.

For more ideas for National Poetry Month, including loads of tools and prompts to write and share poetry, see this collection.

1 Comment

  1. […] In honor of Poetry Month, I offer another “poetic” post to follow up on the pocket poems. […]

    Pingback by Think Like a Teacher » Poetry in the Black: Adding (meaning) by subtracting — April 4, 2014 @ 11:46 am

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