Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poetry and the SMART Board

We are getting ready to have the SMART Board in the library moved to a different location so we haven't used it much. But this week, the 2nd and 3rd graders used it for Poetry Writing and revision. What a powerful tool for Writing Workshop. I can see the possibilities of a SMART Board in a workshop classroom.

Today, I taught a lesson similar to lessons I've taught before. I think I originally got the idea from Georgia Heard, author of FOR THE GOOD OF EARTH AND SUN. She suggests a collaborative poem and I have always found the lesson to be a powerful one--one that really moved kids in their poetry writing strategies. This is a whole group lesson in which everyone contributes a line or phrase about something that is common--the morning, a tree, an experience--something that everyone can write about. You can get the phrases in several ways. Everyone can write a bit about the topic and then choose a line they love. Or they can just brainstorm lines. There are several ways. Following the sharing of lines, everyone can use the common language to create a poem. It is always amazing how different each poem is when they all come from the same list of words.

Well, the SMART Board made this lesson far more powerful than it's ever been. Taught so much about poetry but also gave such great messages about revision and playing with language. One group wrote about our school's courtyard. We looked at it for a while and came up with phrases of things we noticed. Anyone who had a line to contribute to the SMART Board did so. I typed them as kids shared. One class came up with this list:

benches waiting for people
the trees are moving all around
a nest in a tree is in a battle for life or death
bushes barely moving
there is a birdhouse
colorful
shrubs weeping
tulips peeking
I saw a splash of pink and yellow
red, yellow, pink
the tree is waving hi

We then played with the lines, combining them in different ways to create different poems. Since each line automatically became a text box, I typed the lines on the left side of the board. They could be easily dragged over to the right side in any order, thus creating a poem. The end poem that this class came up with, using these words as an anchor was:

Plants

the trees are moving all around
bushes barely moving
splashes of green
shrubs weeping
and
tulips peeking


This whole lesson took less than 15 minutes.



My favorite part was the work that happened after the lesson. I left the page up with the lines available for students who wanted to play with the words a bit more. About 4-5 kids per class (many from our SMART Board Team) chose to continue the work with poetry on the SMART Board. They discovered more about spacing, white space, adding and deleting words, etc. One group decided to begin a whole new poem--using the colored markers to add new phrases. The SMART Board allowed for great revision play and word play--which is exactly how we want writing to feel. This lesson is an old one and the use of the SMART Board was nothing that exciting. But the tool did invite some amazing collaboration and because I have taught similar lessons many, many times over the year, I was amazed at how the use of the SMART Board really lifted the level of collaboration as well as the willingness to play with the language to create something new. And, in the process, they also learned so much about the workings of the Board itself--the problem solving was fun to watch as they discovered new things and gave things a try.


10 comments:

  1. Inspiring! Can't wait to give this one a try when we get back from break.

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  2. Wow! Now that is a great use of a smart board, Franki! You are such a smartie!

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  3. I really, really would like one in my room! This sounds fun, smart and collaborative! Yeah!

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  4. Thanks for sharing. It is always great to think of different uses for technology.

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  5. Love Smart Boards! I especially love how the kids coach me whenever I use one!

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  6. Thank you taking wonderful you do as a teacher and showing how technology could naturally fit in. Authentic work enhanced, not glorified by technology.

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  7. Love this. I am thinking about getting a smartboard. Whay is it leaving the library?

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  8. Wowza!!! I am sharing this link with our teachers. Thank you!

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  9. Thanks:-)

    The Smart Board isn't leaving the library. We are just moving it to a different spot in the library. It isn't working where it is --too crowded and the space just doesn't work like we thought it would.

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  10. I often say that given a choice between a Smart Board or more computers for kids, I'd take the latter. Thanks for helping me see how a SmartBoard could lift the level of our writing workshop -- I guess there's more to the SmartBoard than I thought.

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