Friday, May 15, 2015

Using iPads and Schoology to explore and share poetry

By Kim Miklusak

Our AP students have reached the end of their exams this week.  They have worked so hard all year--but specifically these past two weeks--to reach this point.  To celebrate we are spending two days in class exploring poetry.

We have scattered poetry throughout the year in our AP Lang curriculum.  We spent another day talking about it on Poem in your Pocket Day.  The directions for yesterday were simple: 1) find a poem or poems you like.  2) Post the link or the poem into a Schoology discussion.  3) Give one sentence explaining why your peers would like it.

I couldn't believe where the students took this.  Some gravitated toward poems they knew.  Some went to Button Poetry, a poetry slam site I have shared with them before.  Some students went out into the hallway to gather around an iPad.  Some students spent a very long time working on writing their own very silly but fun haiku.  Some students paired up and shared ear buds.  Some students went to poems in their native language, wondering whether they should translate it on their own or if they should just settle for Google.

(The formatting looks normal on the iPad.  This is the desktop view.)
But just as importantly, some students started calling across the room to each other to watch this poem or that.  They really got into it--even the students who weren't as on task to start.  There was no assessment attached to it.  The value was that students were able to explore and to experience.  And in the end some students maybe started to like poetry or learn that poetry can be more than the may have thought.  And in the best case some students found some poems that said things that they had thought but hadn't heard anyone express so beautifully before.

Today we will start class by spending time looking through the poems posted in the Schoology discussion, watching some of the videos people shared, and commenting on everyone's posts.  Then we will use that as a foundation to read some Emily Dickinson and John Donne!

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