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TeachNet Grant: Digital Poetry
Constance Kelly

P.S. 149Q
93-11 34th Avenue
Jackson Heights, New York  11372

3rd Grade (but easily adaptable to 4th and 5th) - Language Arts
About the Grant:

In this unit, students will listen to, read and recite poetry.  They will then create their own poetry using technology.  The students will use Web 2.0 tools which are free, collaborative, and web based.  Web 2.0 technology allows students to globalize their work as well as collaborate with others.  Students first brainstorm, listen to, read poetry examples, and recite poetry.   This will culminate in the creation of their own poems which they will post on Wikispaces.  Finally, they will evaluate each others poetry on the same Wikispace. 

The students will use all modalities which will address each of the ELA standards.   While using Webspiration in Lesson 1 and Wikispaces in Lessons 4 and 5, they will be using their writing skills.  In Lesson 2, they will use their listening skills as they access audio podcasts online.   They will use speaking skills in Lesson 3 as they recite poetry using podcasting software, such as Garageband or Audacity.  Students will be using reading skills throughout as they will be (1) reading each others webs to share and collaborate in Lesson 1; (2) reading poetry books in Lesson 2, (3) reading a poem from a sheet or Smartboard for their shared poetry podcasts; and (4) reading list poems from the Wikispaces in Lessons 4 and 5.

The materials needed are the following:
Laptops, headphones, *media consent forms (easily downloaded from the DOE website in multiple languages at http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/mediarelations/consentforms/default.htm), paper, pencils, chart paper, markers, (Smartboard/projector optional).  The Web 2.0 Tools used in this unit are all free for educators.   Most are also ad-free for educators.  Since Wikispaces and Webspiration are web-based, there is no need to download applications.  Audacity must be downloaded for the podcasting unless you have Garageband already installed on your Mac.

The children will start by using Webspiration to brainstorm poetry topics.  Next, the students listen to on-line poetry podcasts.  In pairs, students will then create poetry podcasts with their own poems or with pre-written poems given to them by their teacher.  The children will also use Web 2.0 tools, such as Wikispaces, to create their own list poems.    Finally, children will again use Wikispaces to evaluate and comment on their classmate's poems.

The teacher and students could use the free downloadable PhotoStory to celebrate the unit.


How This Grant was Adapted:

One of the best features of this unit is that the students will be using Web 2.0 tools.  Most Web 2.0 tools are web based (you do not need to download the application), collaborative and free.  Collaborative tools allow students to share ideas and give each other feedback.  In addition to this unit, Wikispaces can be used in many ways.  In general, a teacher can set up a class wikispace whereby students who are absent can access class work and homework from their homes (provided their is a computer with Internet access).   The student could post the homework to the wiki and the teacher could provide feedback.  The teacher can set up a template on multiple pages within a wiki so groups of students could post on one topic.  For example, an 'All About Animals" wiki could be created as a science topic.   Pairs or groups of children could each research a different animal.   Each animal would be on a separate wiki page.  On each page, groups of students, depending on their animal, would post to the correct animal page.  

Podcasting is also a very useful and fun activity for students.  It is especially helpful to English Language Learners as they can practice both listening and speaking skills.  Podcasting software, such as Audacity, is an application that can be downloaded for free.   If a Mac is used, Garageband, another podcasting program, is already installed on the computer.  Podcasting can be used for poetry, newscasts, commercials, and much more.   

Webspiration, a free, on-line brainstorming tool, can be used for just about any lesson where accessing prior knowledge would be helpful.  At the beginning of any writing unit, whether it is a narrative account, narrative procedure, or poetry, Webspiration can help children generate seed ideas for their writing.  If students have difficulties generating ideas, Webspiration allows students to invite collaborators, whereby other students and the teacher can help out.



Students will brainstorm different poetry topics by using www.webspiration.com

Students will write down "noticings" about poems by listening to poetry podcasts/vodcasts/videos.

Students will write down "noticings" about poems by viewing poems in traditional forms, such as poetry books/anthologies.

Students, working in pairs, will create podcasts by reading their favorite poems in two voices.

Students will participate in an eLearning community by using Wikispaces.

Students will create list poems using Wikispaces.

Students will self-assess their work by completing a checklist.

Students will incorporate online collaboration in their poetry unit by using Web 2.0 Technology Tools.

Students will use Wikispaces to comment and evaluate on poems created by other classmates.

Websites Used

Free, collaborative site where students can create their own web pages in different content areas.  Wikispaces is ad-free for educators.

Wikispace tutorials

Free, online collaborative brainstorming tool.  Students can create webs and diagrams to organize their information. 

Free downloadable podcasting software.  Allows students to create and edit their own podcasts.   Podcasts can be distributed over the Internet and then played  back on a mobile device, such as a cell phone or MP3 Player, or computer.

A  free podcast tutorial

New York City Department of Education Media Consent Forms.  If you are not a teacher in the New York City system, your district should have a similar form or you could use this form as a model or template.

A collection of poetry podcasts for young students, with many humorous poems.

A site where you can listen to podcasts; the site will also host your podcast.  It includes tutorials on how to get started in podcasting and how to download Audacity (podcasting application). 

Free, online teacher/student created videos.  There are poetry videos there to use with this unit. 

Site where you can download Microsoft's PhotosStory 3.  It is a free tool to create and edit your own "show and tell" slide shows on PCs.  You can easily add music and voice.   The site also provides helpful tips.

Standards Addressed:

Both the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) and English Language Arts (ELA) standards are provided.
Lesson 1: 
Creativity and Innovation - apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.

Students present information clearly in a variety of oral and written forms, such as summaries, paraphrases, brief reports, stories, posters, and charts.

Lesson 2
Students gather and interpret information from children's reference books, magazines, textbooks, electronic bulletin boards, audio and media presentations, oral interviews, and from such forms as charts, graphs, maps, and diagrams.

Lesson 3: 
Communication and Collaboration - interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments
and media.

Students present information clearly in a variety of oral and written forms, such as summaries, paraphrases, brief reports, stories, posters, and charts.

Lesson 4: 
Creativity and Innovation - create original works as a means of personal or group expression.

Communication and Collaboration - interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments
and media.

Students create their own stories, poems, and songs using the elements of the literature they have read and appropriate vocabulary.

Lesson 5: 
Communication and Collaboration - interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments
and media.
Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

Students read and form opinions about a variety of literary and informational texts and presentations, as well as persuasive texts such as advertisements, commercials, and letters to the editor.

Lesson 1:

Title:   Introduction to Digital Poetry

Objectives:  Students will brainstorm different poetry topics by using www.mywebspiration.com

Materials:  Laptops, Internet Access, Chart Paper, Markers, Interactive Whiteboard/Projector if available 

Procedure:   Tell students they will be doing a unit on poetry. They will begin this unit by brainstorming different topics they would like to write a poem about. Open up the mywebspiration website and model how to use the digital tool to brainstorm different topics.  The teacher will add 3-4 topics to write about.   Demonstrate how to invite collaborators to their web.

Guided Practice:  The teacher will ask students to help out and give more topics to write about.  The topics will be added to to the web.

Independent Practice:  Students will go to the webspiration website and create a web with topics they would like to write a  poem about. They will work with a partner at the site.  If they have toruble generating ideas, MyWebspiration will allow students to invite collaborators, such as other students or the teacher, to add topics to their webs. 

Share:  During the share, teacher will write their topics on a chart so children can use it as a reference tool.

Homework:  Students will be given a specific topic, such as sports, to generate subtopics to write poems about (baseball, soccer, etc.).  I  they have a computer with Internet service at home, they could open up Webspiration and add the topics to their web.

Assessment:  Teacher will coach in making note of any children having difficulties creating the web or not being able to generate enough ideas.

Bloom's Taxonomy:  Knowledge - recalling, brainstorming

Lesson 2:

Title:   Listening and Viewing Digital Poetry

Objectives:   Students will write down their "noticings" about poems by listening to poetry podcasts/vodcasts and viewing poems in books, anthologies and videos.  (See Websites section above for suggestions.)                    

Materials:    Laptops, Internet Access, Chart Paper, Markers, Various Poetry Books, Paper and Pencils, Interactive Whiteboard/Projector if  available 

Procedures:  Teacher will read a poem or two to the class and share what she notices and write it down on a chart.

Guided Practice: Play the vodcast poem "Miss" Spelled - Witch Poem by Milou (vodpod.com/.../927326-miss-spelled-witch-poem-by-milou).  Children will share what they notice as the teacher adds the elements to the chart.
Independent Practice:  In groups of 4, students will listen to other vodcasts, podcasts, view videos and read poetry books to  make a collaborative chart of their noticings.

 Share:  The charts will be hung around the room.  Students will share out in groups what they have noticed in the poems they have listened to, viewed or read.

Homework:  Students will be given a poem(s) and write down what they notice in the new poem to serve as reinforcement or they can go to a suggested website for poetry and choose their own to write about.

Assessment:   Teacher will walk around to hear what vocabulary groups are using to describe the poems and see what they are noticing.

Bloom's Taxonomy:  Comprehension - Describing in one's own words

Lesson 3:

Title:   Paired Podcast Poems

Objectives:  Students will create podcasts by reading their favorite poems or their own poem with a partner.

Materials:   Laptops, Internet Access, Podcasting Software (Garageband for Macs and Audacity for PCs and Macs), Pre-recorded Podcasts, Sheets with a variety of 8 (or more) lined poems, Interactive Whiteboard/Projector if available

Procedures: Connect lesson to last lesson's podcasts.  Using a pre-recorded podcast, children will listen to one or two poems created by pairs of older students.

Guided Practice:   Using a pre-written color coded poem on an interactive whiteboard or sheet of paper, paired students will be assigned alternating/different lines of a poem to read with the teacher (teacher will be one of the "students" for the guided practice).
Tip:   Poetry lines are color coded so different children know which line to read.

 Independent Practice:  Teacher will assign different funny, color coded poems to each pair or students will use their own poems. In pairs, children will be instructed to choose and rehearse which lines they will read (which color). The children will use podcasting software to create their paired poetry podcasts.

Homework:  Students would be assigned other poems to read and create podcasts if they have the software.

Assessment:   With the teacher, students will create a rubric for their podcasts.  Their rubric will be used as a criteria chart.  (See Important Documents for a suggested format.)

Bloom's Taxonomy:  Analysis - subdividing something to show how it is put together.

Lesson 4

Title: Creating List Poetry using Wikispaces

Objectives: Students will create list poems using Wikispaces

Materials:  Laptops, Internet Access, Chart Paper, Markers, Various List Poems, Notebooks and Pencils, Interactive Whiteboard/Projector if available

Procedures: Teacher will read a few examples of list poems (projected on an interactive whiteboard or from a traditional book). Students will turn and  talk about what they notice.

Guided Practice:  Teacher will open up Wikispaces and write a title for a new list poem. In their notebooks, students will write words that go with this title to help create the new list poem.Teacher will enter children's suggestions into the group wiki to form a list poem. The poem will be written on a chart for reference.

Independent Practice:  Teacher will have different topics/poem titles already set up on different pages within the wiki.  Working in pairs, students will add different words to the titles to create different list poems.  (Later, students could be invited to add to other partner's poems simply by clicking on their page/link) Students will also be encouraged to choose their own title, add it to the wiki, and create a list poem on that new topic.

 Share:  Students will come up to the whiteboard and share out their list poems that they postd on the wiki.                      

Homework:  Students would be assigned different topics to write another list poem and if they have Internet access, they could add it to the wiki where the teacher could provide feedback.

Assessment:   Students will use a checklist to do self-assessment.

Bloom's Taxonomy:  Comprehension - describing an idea in one's own words

                                 Synthesis - combination of ideas to form a new whole

Lesson 5:

Title:   Evaluating Poetry

Objectives: Students will use Wikispaces to comment and evaluate another classmate's poem.

Materials:  Laptops, Internet Access, Smartboard/Projector if available

Procedures:     Open up the group Wikispaces and choose a list poem already posted to the site by the teacher or a student from the last lesson. Type in one thing you liked about the poem underneath the poem.  Insert a picture to show your opinion (ex. happy face).Type in some suggestion for the poem. Class can create a list of possible comments/suggestions one can make.

Guided Practice:  Choose another poem and have a student come up and add their comments about the poem.  Repeat.

Independent Practice:  In the same pairs as in lesson 4, students will go to Wikispaces and comment on the pre-assigned list  poems  of different children (prepare beforehand which pairs will comment on which poems; later have them choose whichpoem to evaluate).

Share:  Students will share out what they posted on the Wikispaces - both their compliments and their suggestions.                                                

Homework: Give students poems to comment on. Students will add a compliment or suggestion or continue to contribute comments on the class poetry wiki.

Assessment:  Teacher will coach in to make sure students know how to add the comments and make notes of their progress.

Bloom's Taxonomy:  Evaluation - development of opinions, judgements or decisions

I have been a New York City elementary school teacher for the last 14 years.   I was a Science Cluster for 8 years and I am now a Technology Support Teacher in Jackson Heights, New York.   I am currently certified in ESOL and Common Branches.  I am currently pursuing my third certification in Instructional Technology and anticipate certification as an Educational Technology Specialist by September 2009.

As both a Science Cluster and Technology Support Teacher, I have always been an advocate of a hands-on, inquiry based method of instruction.  I enjoy seeing students getting excited about what they have created.  My students recently entered the annual ThinkQuest competition where they took charge of their own learning by researching a global topic in a content area and then using the information to create their own web site.  It was wonderful to see children feel great about becoming web authors in only the third, fourth and fifth grades. 

I am a member of ISTE (International Society of Technology Education) as well as TeachNet and ThinkQuest.  





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