Tinkering With Voices in Poetry

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Illustration by Melvina Kurashige

Tinkering, playing around, experimenting: that’s learning. So when Kevin Hodgson [@dogtrax] read my “On Starting: A Poem for Three Voices,” he suggested recording those three voices in a podcast.

Kevin invited Melvina Kurashige [@mkurashige] and me to an online, collaborative sound recording tool called SoundTrap [there’s an app too.] With just a few tests and his great Google doc tutorial, we each recorded the voices for the poem. Melvina created the illustration [above] and Kevin added music and transferred the recording to SoundCloud.

 

I wanted to create an animation, but I did manage to create an illustrated version of our poem by drawing illustrations in SketchBook and importing them into iMovie. I downloaded the SoundCloud version and matched the timing of the recording to the images. I added in Melvina’s illustration and, of course, the credits.

On Starting on YouTube    On Starting at Soundcloud

 

I was impressed with how easy SoundTrap is use; a collaboration with students would work with a light learning curve. Imagine students creating their own poems for two voices, or creating a podcast for the school. See the SoundTrap Edublogs for more about an education edition. To get a feel for how to use it, check out their Tutorials at Vimeo.

I’d like to thank Kevin for making it happen — he wrote about it here: “Tinkering with Voices/Playing with Poems” — and to Melvina for accepting the invitation and taking the initiative to create the SketchNote of the poem.

Now, go tryout SoundTrap [there’s an app too.] in the free version to see its versatility, and then… share what you do with it! Really, you’ll have a blast.

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Illustration by Melvina Kurashige

SOL17 DoodleaDay Sketch50 Haibun

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A Message from Robins

A Haibun Poem

I awoke to a new day announced at first light by a chorus of robins, a celebration of the last #doodleaday, ready for April 1st — the beginning of #GloPoWriMo or Global Poetry Writing Month.

Robins announce spring,

Chirping, chattering, tweeting

Me awake at four.

Yes, they chirp alarms

Unwanted, unneeded, yet

Inspired a poem, yes?

Oh, haiku power,

joyous chaos rises to

Humble my complaints.

Ha! And we two sing

Word play- Global Poetry

Writing Month: April!

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Tomorrow starts Global Poetry Writing Month [#GloPoWriMo], or in the United States, it was once called National Poetry Writing Month [ #NaPoWriMo], started and nurtured by Maureen Thorson at napowrimo.net.

So when I woke up today, I knew I wanted to start my April off with some ideas. I started with the pre-GloPoWriMo post by Maureen, suggesting a form of poetry I hand not heard of before: haibun. I love the examples, here, which Maureen shared in her post.

What better way to end #doodleaday than with a new style of poetry, especially since the topic today is: Why Do I Doodle?

I doodle to enhance the message. As a participant in Sketch50, I discovered that topic today is “two people talking.”

So my doodle of two people talking in haiku enhances the message of my morning waking up to the dawn of Global Poetry Writing Month.

The prose introduction plus the conversation of haiku creates the haibun poem. What a fun day of sketching and doodling!

Thank you to Royan Lee  for the excellent experience he created for us in #doodleaday prompts!

And thanks to Melvina Kurashige whose tweet helped me with drawing people

And thanks to Deb Baff whose tweet also helped me with drawing my two people talking:

So — if you’re not sure about your drawing skills, develop a growth mindset and do #doodleaday and Sketch50 so you can doodle to enhance your message or to take notes.

And, get ready for National Poetry Month!

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Resources for Poetry Month:

Be sure to check out the resources at Poets.org:

National Poetry Month information, including a downloadable, clickable poster

Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 27 & Find a Poem for Your Pocket

The Dear Poet Project

30 Ways to Celebrate—  #NPM17

A Poem a Day

Thirty Days of Writing Prompts by Kelli Russell Agodon

National Poetry Month links by Sheri

Online Interactives from Read/Write/Think: Theme PoemsAcrostic PoemsDiamante Poems

or learn from poets:

Kinds of Poems by Kathi Mitchell

Ken Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids

Giggle Poetry How To

Not sure you want to write a poem every day? How about reading one every day. Find one you like. Link to it in your Kidblog and let us know:

Which kind fits you? Why did you chose it? Why is it poetry?

A Poem a Day by GottaBook

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 This blog is:

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Why Do I Doodle?

Part of Sketch50: two people talking

Part of #GloPoWriMo / #NaPoWriMo  @NaPoWriMo at napowrimo.net started and nurtured by Maureen Thorson

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Doodling Song for Today:

I’ve Got A Name by Jim Croce 

One of the strategies my students follow is to “name it

Not a dog — give it a name: a German Shepherd, or a bouncing white poodle

Not the floor — name with description and nouns: but the muted colored tweed carpet

Or like Jim Croce — not the wind blew but

Like the north wind whistlin’ down the sky

Enjoy this story, this poem, this song by Jim Croce: I’ve Got A Name, because you can picture  the images in your mind…

SOL17 DoodleaDay 30 Tools and Spaces

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Doodling is writing in images. The flow for each is similar: idea-draft-share-elaborate-revise-share-enhance-edit-publish. And publishing can be private, shared with a few, public on websites, social media, blogs, journals, etc.

For me, and again like writing, I prefer the digital. The ability to cut/paste/re-order/undo/redo just makes the process of thinking through the challenge to create the best message is just such a gift. This is especially important with art– because I’m not an artist. I’d be crunching up paper and eventually be buried in snowballs of wrecked work. I’d be frustrated and quit. But with the digital, I try over and over and feel like I can improve and understand better what each stroke, brush, line does to bring out the image. It’s fun.

I think that’s important to understand for students in writing class: why drearily write by hand when the words are so easily created, ordered, deleted, enhanced with the tools available in digital format? Handwriting? That’s now art! Make it fun, on paper or digital.

The #Sketch50 theme this week is Communication, and today’s topic is page/book/device. Notice what changed from the #doodleaday of “Tools and Spaces:

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First of all, you can see that I just needed to copy the #doodleaday to my Sketch50 journal in Paper53. To make the icons I just searched Google [icon Blogger, for example]. Then I could zoom in and create an image pretty close to the icon of  the app that I use for communication of ideas.

Sharing Google Docs, in blogs, on Twitter, in Evernote, through presentations [Keynote or Slides]– those are ways for me to curate ideas and collaborate.

And the information is from my experiences, my books [Kindle], news apps, research in Google Search.

I do have a journal, which I hardly use, and Staedtler fine point pens, for the occasional sketching I do for a quick idea– rare. I also do a little ZenTangle art, but mostly in my Paper53 and Autodesk Sketchbook apps. My pens last a long time.

But whatever writing I do — text or image – I just think, get an idea, and then dive in, digitally.

I visited school yesterday. Actually, I was the substitute Principal. It was a wonderful experience– I could see the flow of the day, and found smiles on student faces, which means the school is doing well for kids. I wrote on paper [!] a log of what I did. I wrote “Tootles”– oodles of them in each classroom I visited. Tootles are acknowledgements of students who are models of goodness: Good thinking, good questions, good answers, good effort, good attitude– each is written specifically for and given to one child. I was able to hear good questions, acknowledge a change in attitude, a willingness to listen again and correct mistakes, etc. It was awesome.

I was also reminded of the challenge in writing — the biggest challenge– the start. That first word or image. That blank paper or screen. In my experience, the best way to overcome that obstacle is three-fold:

  1. Model examples [if needed, non-examples as well]
  2. Model and try with students; Share and find the positive.
  3. Conversation: discuss the trials and encourage discussion of what the examples suggest– what else could have been tried or done or reworded?

I found that modeling, guiding a reworking or new ideas, and then having conversations with students, and students with each other, gets them thinking about their own ideas and experiences. Soon, one by one, each student is able to start.

If you are new to teaching writing, I’ve always recommended these:

Ralph Fletcher Books

Lessons for the Writers Notebook and Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi by Heinemann

In the Middle by Nancie Atwell

Vicki Spandel Six Traits

Six Trait Writing by Northwest Labs

Teaching that Makes Sense by Steve Peha

If you are a writer, what is your flow? Are you digital or paper?

If you are a teacher, what strategies do you suggest for helping students start?

If you are a teacher, what resources do you recommend?

We all need tools and spaces, and once we help each other consider the possibilities– starting  is not an issue.

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A Poem for Three Writing Voices: On Starting

Stuck.

Blank.

[Sigh]

“What?”

“Nothing – You?”

“Look – whale’s tales”

“Whales tales?”

“I couldn’t draw

the whole whale.”

“Me too.

I drew my dog

in the  wheat field.

Just the head.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah!”

“That works!”

“Yeah, that works.”

“Oh.”

“I know.”

“What?”

“What?”

“It’s a square.”

“It’s my cat in a box.”

“Now I can write.”

“Yeah–we looked

for that cat

for an hour!”

“I know.”

“How to Find a Cat”

“That works!”

“That does work.”

“Shhhh.”

“I’m writing.”

 

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Doodling Song

I was going to listen to “We’ve Got the Whole World In Our Hands,” but then I stumbled on the same song, remixed for Earth Day: Official Music Video for one of DARIA’s Earth Day CD songs: We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands.

It’s got some great images — I imagine a class set of doodles / sketches could be used to create a similar version.

 

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Tools and Spaces

Part of Sketch50: page/book/device

 

SOL17 DoodleaDay Map Story


Writing.

If you’re a writer, you know it isn’t easy. If you’re not a writer, you know it’s hard.

Donald Murray assured us that “Writing is hard fun.”

In our classrooms, as students learn and read, and wherever students are, they listen, watch, play, work and learn. They gather ideas and facts; they imagine “what ifs.” And teachers have a responsibility to extend all that learning by providing time for students to think and write, and think and write together. And writing for their personal expression in fact and fiction to share their ideas.

Writing clarifies our ideas; it frees our thoughts, contains our thoughts, and connects our thoughts in new ways. We get better at writing by reading a lot and writing a lot. We get better at writing by sharing our pieces — what we like, what we wonder, what we are confused about– for feedback from others. 

Writers know this. Our students need to experience this, not in assignments, but in writing about what’s important to them, in fact or fiction. Journaling, blogging, writers workshop, genius hour: all are ways to incorporate choice in student writing.

We’ve got to let them develop their style, away from templates and outlines. Students need to experience using what they know– facts, experiences, imaginings– to form ideas into a story [fiction or not]. As students review their writing, they share with a friend and get feedback as they make a choice to abandon or to elaborate and revise. If they like their piece, they can edit and publish.  Without these experiences, the feeling of satisfaction and joy — that hard fun — is not attained. We want students to live as writers, as authors on their own.

And with that experience, their messages become clear, in both their own and in their assignments.

Yes, I want my students think like authors– to make the choices in words and organization, in flow and structure, to build their factual or imaginary story and feel the message understood by others when they share during writing and later in publication. 

I want them to learn through their process and publication that “Writing is hard fun.”

And just perhaps, they’ll compose such a story as…

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

Today’s doodling tune in honor of writers and writing, in all its forms.

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Hiding in our minds

Ideas flow and connect;

Stories Awaken.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers
Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Maps

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Update: As I perused my Facebook feed, I discovered that Ralph Fletcher just made a similar plea, but, of course, he says it much better than I:

Greenbelt Writing: How Low-Stakes, Student-Centered Writing Supports Bold Learning

It’s a great read on Heinemann’s Medium blog.

SOL17 DoodleaDay 14 Inspire Word Art

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Inspire

Involvement

Necessary;

Sprout

Partial

Ideas–

Render

Excellence

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Classrooms of inspiration live by student involvement, sprouting partial ideas, and working together to render excellence for projects that help make the world better — or maybe just make the classroom better.

That climate is rendered by a teacher willing to give students agency — the belief in student abilities to work out their own solutions. It’s a climate filled with creation rather than compliance.

Project-based, inquiry learning allows students to take control of the curriculum in ways that the standards and targets are met in different ways by different students, depending on how the students choose their path to solutions.  Good sources for project-based learning are found at the Buck Institute for Education [BIE]. For projects based on immigration: see here.

Another way to think about classroom curriculum is to create the environment for students to experience the learning targets and discuss their learning in a constructivist way. Seymour Papert explains this here. A simple way to say this is:

“The good way to learn is to use it now.” Seymour Papert

A basic example in the language arts class can occur for teaching simile. Read this book to students of any age: Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Woods. After enjoying the book, reread the text and discuss how the author uses word choice to create meaning. And discuss the format of the sentences using that word choice to create meaning. Students soon can write their own, explaining their comparison, meaning, word choice, and grammar [like/as] to create their vivid descriptions. Students use the book to use their own language to learn by doing, and then learn the name for this figurative language: simile.

Another way to inspire classroom climate and learning is to use music. I just discovered this from Amy Cody Clancy today which provides suggested music for different content and context: Songs To Use For History / Literature.

Another way to include music is to find music related to students’ lives. My teaching career lived in a Native American community, and we were lucky enough to have our own celebrity, the late Jim Boyd, Colville Tribal Chairman and role model for our students. He is so missed for his leadership, his community actions, and his music.

Here is one of my favorite songs [I think I have all of his music] — which can inspire many discussions and help build relationships.

My Heart Drops, But I’m Proud by the late Jim Boyd, Colville Tribal Chairman and musician

 

What inspires your life and work?

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today – Word Art

Doodling Song: My Heart Drops, But I’m Proud by the late Jim Boyd

Slice of Life

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Rushing in with barely a ‘hello,’ but with scraps of paper in hand, students rushed across the room from their previous class and logged onto their computers in Google Apps.

“I’m ready for Slice of Life.”

“I’m writing about the fish I caught.”

“I’m writing about my brother’s birthday party.”

“I’m writing about the game last night.”

For most, I needed only to offer support and feedback when students asked. They popped over to read each other’s stories. They helped each other edit. The discussed what image would best fit. And most important, the students used their writing vocabulary: elaborate, dialogue, strong verbs, imagery, simile, sights, sounds, smells, paragraphing, netiquette.

And these students encouraged the hesitant ones.

The Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge is an exciting motivation to hook kids on writing. [How It Began and Slice of Life 2017]

I miss that.

So, I revised my menu for those students who did need some suggestions, and created it on my blog here, and will post below for anyone who would like to participate and may want some ideas for getting those hesitant writers.