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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Out Loud: Preparing for a Poetry Read-Aloud

Project URL: http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/MBHS/Scragg/Poetry/opening.html

How it works:
This program prepares students for a public poetry-reading performance. It was originally constructed to prepare students for the National Read-Aloud that occurs during National Poetry Month every April, but it can be used for any public poetry performance. It uses the Internet to enhance student performance and provide material; students can consult online experts and reference thousands of poems via online databases.

Standard addressed: 
Students prepare and analyze an individual presentation, listen to and analyze a public speaking performance, respond to poetry using interpretive and critical processes, produce a response to literature, utilize technology for research and information, read and comprehend literature of the same genre, participate in group meetings, and make informed judgments about TV, radio, and film. 

Materials used: 
Required materials include a computer with Internet connection, an LCD projector, videos and film. A video camera is also helpful if available.

The students:
Murry Bergtraum High School is a large high school located in downtown Manhattan with a range of students of varying abilities. It is a magnet school, not a neighborhood school, and attracts students from all five boroughs of New York City. The students were members of a small journalism class that expressed an interest in poetry. Many of them had the same teacher for up to four semesters in a row. Therefore, an atmosphere of trust, where taking risks are respected, had been established early-on.

Overall value:
Out Loud enables students to use the Internet and technology--not to remain silent, but to enhance performance. Using available technology and the Internet as a main resource, students were able to increase their comfort level, search for materials, and seek specific advice on performance and poetry reading. The students were so well-prepared at the read-aloud that they were requested to visit every day and during free periods to enhance the reading.

Allowing students to work together enhances their creativity and also increases their comfort level. Try to videotape (or at least tape the audio portion of) an early performance. Students receive tremendous value by listening and watching themselves before making their performances public. Make sure you set an accepting tone in your classroom, otherwise students will be apprehensive about participating.


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