Monday, February 3, 2014

Look what I found!

So Sara and I were visiting our grandkids in Virginia and took in a peewee hockey game.

I’ve got to say these little fourth grade dudes move out – a world of difference from when our guy first started out and it was 50-50 proposition whether or not they would do a face plant upon entering the rink.

Being the good step grand dad I am I was shooting pictures like I was being paid for it. While doing so I got a shot of this sign:


Fair warning one could say – but it put me in mind to a couple of the exercises Sara and I have in our newest teacher resource – High Impact Wiring Clinics – The found Poem and the Summary Poem.

So – I found this piece plastered to the Plexiglas separating the fans from the little bladed demons scooting around the ice like bugs in a  frying pan.  That’s the found part – the warning almost reads as a poem in itself – but Sara and I always teach that poetry is precise and concise so I looked at this notice and tried to pick out the most important words and phrases.


There they are – so now I end up with a grocery list of words which still retain the main thought of the poster.


And this could almost stand as a poem itself. All the critical information is still there. This type of choosing the most important part of a piece is  good practice for reading comprehension and for interpreting the main idea from a piece of text. Also, by using a shorter text such as this warning sign it allows the students to perform this skill in microcosm. If this is your goal for the lesson  you might and can end the exercise here.

Now - if our objective is to produce a more polished poem we have a short piece of text into which we can begin weaving poetic elements. It seems that sometimes with kids they think the goal is the poetic elements –whether it be rhyme, alliteration, simile – whatever. In actuality – the poetic elements are there to augment the story and imagery of the piece. So now that we have stripped this down to what we call a poem skeleton – it’s time to add a bit of connective tissue. Here’s what I ended up with:


And here is the piece deconstructed for poetic elements:


Have fun and keep your eyes open – there’s poetry whizzing all around like hockey pucks.


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