10 Poetry Prompts: paint a summer canvas with words

College Writing

  1. Paint a portrait with poetry. Capture a person in formal setting (static image surrounded by symbols of person) or informal setting doing a mundane task (movement) or doing something they love or something obligatory.
  2. Write a poem with dark/light motif capturing a summer dawn or twilight.
  3. Write a poem in which auditory and tactile images of summer (cacophony of morning bird songs and like sticky ice cream fingers)  are the predominant images.
  4. Write a mimesis poem using Dickinson’s “I dreaded that first, Robin, so.”
  5. Write a dramatic poem drawing on fairytale, myth, or legend characterization and don the mask of that character.
  6. Write a blackout art poem working from a postcard: vintage or new
  7. Write an original poem about water and light in nature and then cull images for a second poem, a haiku, from the initial poem.
  8. Select 5 paintings from among Monet Water Lilies and write a haiku collage (5 haiku) — placement on the page and juxtaposing haiku are part of the process.
  9. Write a collaborative poem with one other student, alternating voices by culling from one original poem that is wholly complete.
  10. Write a poem that explores motion in people or objects.  See Cartier Bresson photo of man on bicycle.

3 Great Educational Uses for Pinterest:

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Teacher as Curator:

  1. Anthologizing Supplemental Reading Assignments: Supplemental reading assignments for your course could be pinned on a board that is organized around a subject or theme.   I have culled a selection of non-fiction articles for my students to read and reflect on. One assignment is includes coupling a nonfiction article with this prompt: Write an essay in which you identify the thesis of the article, which considers author’s point of view and engage in dialogue with the author by responding to the central claim in some way. Base your evidence on the content included in the article, your own experiences and other articles and books you may have read on this topic.  I make this anthology available to my students via Pinterest.

Here is my English 4C Collection of Supplemental Non-fiction Articles:

https://www.pinterest.com/judeobsc17/non-fiction-articles-for-my-english-classes/

Student as Curator: We all know that is significantly more consequential to put tech into the hands of our students. Oftentimes, teachers use these tools in lecture style delivery of content. Here are two ways to put a curation tool into the students’ hands:

  1. For research papers, I now require students to provide an e-bibliography via Pinterest board as well as a conventional MLA style bibliography page. This e-bibliography has values beyond merely culling sources as there is an aesthetic dimension to it as well. Students pin their external sources to the board. It allows me to evaluate their discriminating among sources of information for their research papers and to check for source of language and source of information plagiarism — for definitions of these types of plagiarism, see my book, Preventing Plagiarism: tips and Techniques, NCTE, 2007   https://secure.ncte.org/store/preventing-plagiarism
  1. For Project-Based Learning where students collaborate and need to share sources of information on content within a group, I ask each group to create a shared annotated bibliography for the project. This helps with discriminating among sources (specifically via annotations on the Pinterest board) and with making materials accessible to all group members in one place.

Here is a collaborative Pinterest anthology on Kafka’s The Trial:

https://www.pinterest.com/julianorman2/the-trial/

Painting in Poetry: Prompts for 11th and 12th Graders

  • Paint a portrait with poetry. Capture a person in formal setting (static image surrounded by symbols of person) or informal setting doing a mundane task (movement) or doing something they love or something obligatory.
  • Write a Cento poem by collecting and juxtaposing lines written by other poets (from poetry journal or class anthology (collection of original poems written by students).
  • Write a Cento poem and then write a blackout art poem using the Cento poem as a center of origin.
  • Write a poem with dark/light motif.
  • Write a poem in which auditory and tactile imagery are the predominant images.
  • Write an extended metaphor poem of season — primarily in tactile and olfactory imagery
  • Take up a poetry journal, turn to a page with the digit 5 in it ,and select 5 words to integrate into a poem.
  • Write a dramatic lyric or narrative poem grounded in a childhood memory.
  • Write a dramatic poem drawing on fairytale, myth, or legend characterization and don the mask of that character.
  • Select a line from a class anthology poem and begin an original poem.
  • Write a blackout art poem working from a page in a popular journal.
  • Write an original poem about water and light in nature and then cull images for a second poem, a haiku, from the initial poem.
  • Select 5 paintings from among Monet Water Lilies and write a haiku collage (5 haiku) — placement on the page and juxtaposing haiku are part of the process.
  • Write a collaborative poem with one other student, alternating voices by culling from one original poem that is wholly complete.
  • Cull a fragment of a recorded dream from your sourcebook and write a poem
  • Cull from your sourcebook and write a poem.
  • Use your curated objects on your Pinterest board (e-sourcebook) for a source that inspires a poem.
  • Write a poem that explores motion in people or objects.  See Cartier Bresson photo of man on bicycle.
  • Write an ode to a beloved person.
  • Write a mimesis poem using Dickinson’s “I dreaded that first, Robin, so.”
  • Write a dramatic poem exclusively in dialogue.
  •  Imagine a night without day in auditory and tactile and olfactory imagery
  •  Explore the theme of joy in solitude — think Thoreau.
  •  Write a blackout poem from one page of Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”
  •  Picture an object from your bedside table or dresser and have that be an anchor image in a poem.
  •  Select a favorite poem and write a mimesis poem.
  •  Select a favorite poem and delete every other line: you fill in the missing lines.
  •  Integrate alliteration and assonance into a poem about experiencing sunset in the woods or in the streets of a city
  •  Create a haiku collage by scavenging among some of your other poems.

Meaningful Work Study

It was an exciting day at the high school: alumni returning to share college life, academic and social, with high school seniors. Fortunately, it was an intimate setting — the classroom rather than the large distant space of the auditorium — and so students were comfortable asking questions and alumni were comfortable sharing and thinking aloud rather than reading from prepared scripts.  A panel of former students set up in my classroom and spoke, in turns, about dorm life and the rigors of college academic courses, college clubs and frats, socializing, budgeting time, costs of college texts, laptops and notebooks, but mostly about independence and freedom and how it is empowering and overwhelming at once.   But the most important information came from a former student, who had gone off to study at a prestigious and large university.  It was timely information for me, personally, because my own daughter was off to college in the fall of that same year.

I am enormously indebted this forward looking and tenacious student (because my son and daughter successfully followed his path in their college — setting this up as work study options in their college when no student at that particular college had ever pursued this approach before) and I share his story with all of my seniors every year, but I think it is important to reach out to all college bound seniors and so I am sharing it here. This young man was studying engineering and he wanted a college professor in his chosen field as a mentor — from day one — even as he was just beginning his Gen Ed requirements.  He ingeniously decided that work study could be used to help him secure a mentor and allow him to work (not in the traditional work study assignment –typically,  the university bookstore) but side-by-side a professor, who was doing research in the field he wanted to major in at the college. He made it happen.  The summer before he went off to college he did some research on the professors in the engineering program and selected approximately 10 (based on their unique research studies in the field and his level of interest in those studies) and he emailed all of them to inquire whether they needed help with their research projects.  The email introduced him as an incoming freshman who had work study and was looking to gain research experience and wondering if it was possible to do both at the same time. Of the 10 emails sent, 6 professors enthusiastically responded.  Now the choice was my former student’s and he selected the professor whose research study was most exciting to him.  At that point, the professor’s academic department set up this work study assignment with financial aid.  When the young freshman arrived at the university in the fall of that year, he had made for himself a unique, personalized learning experience with a scholar expert in a field he was passionate about entering, and for his work he earned money via federal work study job to help him with his education expenses. This student gained a mentor, real world experience, an enhanced job resume, a glowing letter of recommendation for graduate studies, and a confidence in making meaningful things happen when you have a vision and you make a way.

Student as Disrupter: Launching Peer Academy

Students as Content Creators: Peer Academy

My colleague, Mike Padilla, and I are launching a Peer Academy Fall 2013 at West Milford High School in New Jersey.

What is a Peer Academy?  It is modeled on Khan Academy, but what it promotes (beyond what Khan Academy ‘s vision for flipped classroom model) is an invitation to students to be the creators of content.  Our student tutors will be teaching lessons in History, English, Art,  Music, Mathematics, Science for their peers in all grade levels (recorded lessons will be vetted by teachers but students will be content creators and content instructors). The lessons will be archived on our district’s website and will be accessible to students throughout the district.

We will use our TV Science Program (headed by Mr. Padilla) as the hub for development of videos and our TV Science students will be directing, editing and producing these video clips for Peer Academy.  Mr. Padilla and I will facilitate as we stand on the periphery of this hub,  but it will be the students  who will create and curate the videos.  Look for our launching in Fall 2013.  I will blog on our progress.

We know that Social Media is so popular with our students because that is where they connect.  We see students tutoring students as valuable to both the tutor and the tutee.  Beyond the flipped classroom is the flipped paradigm:  student as role model/mentor and content expert.