Poetry: Putting Soul into your Common Core Classroom Carolyn Dufurrena Nevada Reading Week Conference March 1, 2014
Poetry: Why Bother? • "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.” John Keating, Dead Poets’ Society
The gift of poetry • “ Through the years I have found the gift of poetry to be life-sustaining, life-enhancing, and absolutely unpredictable. Does one live, therefore, for the sake of poetry? No, the reverse is true: poetry is for the sake of life.” Stanley Kunitz
The Gingerbread Dog and the Calico Cat • What’s your poetry-ography? • What do you remember about poetry from your childhood? • From middle school? • College? • Take a few minutes, write it down.
It all starts here • (page from my journal)
Building Background Responding to new vocabulary by building a poem from nonfiction material
Responding to a Poem • “Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers” Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) • Teacher read aloud/students have a copy • Word Search: Kids circle unknown words • List words on whiteboard • Discuss as a group • Choral-read the poem again aloud • Have kids pick words to include in their poem • Honor working memory: limit number of new words
The breaking waves dashed high Landing of the Pilgrim Fathersby Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793-1835)The breaking waves dashed highOn a stern and rock-bound coast, And the woods against a stormy sky Their giant branches tossed; And the heavy night hung dark, The hills and waters o'er, When a band of exiles moored their bark On the wild New England shore. Not as the conqueror comes, They, the true-hearted came; Not with the roll of the stirring drums, And the trumpet that sings of fame; Not as the flying come, In silence and in fear; They shook the depths of the desert gloom With their hymns of lofty cheer….
Amidst the storm they sang,And the stars heard, and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang To the anthem of the free. The ocean eagle soared From his nest by the white wave's foam; Amidst the storm they sang, And the stars heard, and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang To the anthem of the free. There were men with hoary hair Amidst the pilgrim band: Why had they come to wither there, Away from their childhood's land?
There was woman's fearless eye, Lit by her deep love's truth; There was manhood's brow, serenely high, And the fiery heart of youth. What sought they thus afar? Bright jewels of the mine? The wealth of seas, the spoils of war? They sought a faith's pure shrine! Ay, call it holy ground, The soil where first they trod; They have left unstained what there they found -- Freedom to worship God. Read more at http://www.poetry-archive.com/h/landing_of_the_pilgrim_fathers.html#QQBoh7ULMT7WIhYj.99
Student-generated word list • O’er • Exiles • Moored • Bark • Conqueror • Hymns • Foam • Hoary • Shrine • Aye • Trod • serenely
Pilgrim Fathers, cont. • Students write narrative journal entry that includes their four or five chosen words • “Carving out the poem”…a reduction to simplest language • Students review their journal entry, circling the most important words, taking out every word that isn’t essential, weeding out ideas that are on another topic (“This is another poem”) • Add describing words, thinking about how they would feel if they had been there • Use words “That make a picture in your head”
Making Content Comprehensible Nonfiction text to poetry
Nonfiction Examples: 5th Grade Social Studies • “The Puritan Village” • Assign two-paragraph chunks • Students circle important words or vocabulary they don’t know • List words and phrases • Keeping in mind working memory, discuss or have them discover meanings of key words • Start working a poem from list of words and phrases
Your Turn • Science News article • Chunk text • Circle words and phrases that strike you as important • List them • Don’t be afraid to respond with adjectives, adverbs to describe • Add a line for How? • Add a line for Why?
Examples • “Possible Snake Shortage Looming” • “Trash Confirms Jamestown Drought” • “Crash of ‘09 Suspect Named: asteroid probably to be blamed for scar on Jupiter” • (all from Science News July 3, 2010) • “The Shrinkage Solution” • “Practical Invisibility Cloaks” • (MIT Technology Review, Sept/Oct 2011)
Finally Don’t worry if, at first blush, your students (and you) do not appear to be Pulitzer Prize winners in poetry. As a wise man once said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
Haiku Ambulance A piece of green pepper Fell Off the salad bowl: So what? Richard Brautigan