- Grade Band
- Estimated Lesson Time
- From Theory to Practice
- Student Objectives
- Teacher Resources
- Instructional Plan
- Instruction and Activities
- Student Assessment and Reflections
Want your students to put more pizzazz into their writing? Become aware of audience? Use presentation software for more than electronic notes? This TechKnowFile describes how your students can write and workshop “I Am From” poems and publish them in a PowerPoint format with images.
250 minutes (5 class sessions, each for fifty minutes)
From Theory to Practice
Students find writing and workshopping “I Am From” poems exhilarating and easy because they can readily follow a format as they write down details about their own lives. Writing and sharing and publishing the poems in PowerPoint format are also great ways to build community, to introduce students to “how to’s” for effective use of PowerPoints, and extend the audience for the poems beyond the classroom.
Gardner, Ann. “Place-Based Poetry, One Step at a Time.” The Quarterly. 27:2 2005. National Writing Project. 1 Dec. 2007 http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/2230.
Pipher, Mary. “I Am Poetry.” Writing to Change the World. New York: Penguin, 2005. 31-33.
“Teaching Strategies: Where I’m From Poems.” Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for Middle Grades. 2005. Annenberg Foundation. 1 Dec. 2007.
The students will:
- Write a creative piece.
- Use the writing process to edit and revise that piece.
- Acquire appropriate photos to use with the written piece.
- Use PowerPoint to present a digital composition of the piece.
- Access to at least one computer per every two students.
- Access to the software Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Ability to download copyright free pictures or scan photos.
- Digital camera.
It’s a good idea teachers to go through the steps of this process to create an example and also to figure out where students might need to take more time with the work during the process. Students must first have written, edited and revised an “I Am From” poem. Only then should they think about publishing the poem in PowerPoint. A storyboard format works well in planning what is to be included on each slide before students actually access computers. Arrange for use of a computer lab or collaborate with the technology teacher who may be willing to have the students design the PowerPoint with their help. Teachers should also be able to use a scanner and have an understanding of how to download images from copyright free source sites so they can help students or give students instruction on how to do those steps in the process.
Instruction and Activities:
Session 1: Creative Writing
Read and share with students several exemplars of “I Am From” poems. Models, as well as suggestions for how to begin drafting the poems, are available in Pipher and at the “Teaching Strategies: ‘Where I’m From Poems.’” web sites. Also, a web-search engine such as “Google” will provide teachers with thousands of additional exemplars and how-tos for having students, grades 2 – 16, write “I Am” and “I Am From” poems. After modeling and discussing several poems, encourage students to make lists and/or respond to questions about the important people and places and hobbies in their lives—using as many details as possible. Then, allow students time to write. End the session by having students share at least one showing detail from their own “I Am From” poems.
Session 2: Revising and Editing
Use the Revision and Editing handout to show students how to re-vision their poems, perhaps using only two or three rewriting suggestions from the list. Near the end of the session, have students circle up to ten details in their poems which they believe could be illustrated by a photograph or image (visual representation).
Session 3: Collecting Visuals
Have students bring to class: artifacts and/or photographs which are visual representations of the details in their “I Am From Poems.” Spend this class session in a computer lab or classroom with computer technology downloading copyright free images, scanning personal images, or creating digital pictures. Copyright free images are available at www.pics4learning.com. Also use the federal government’s American Memories site to access primary source documents and pictures, but students must still be sure to use proper citation if they incorporate items from this collection into their poems. See the site’s FAQs page concerning copyright questions. See Hall Davidson’s Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers for general questions about copyright concerns.
Session 4: Storyboarding the Piece
Have students break their poems into five to seven chunks and place each ‘chunk’ on a separate sheet of paper or in a storyboard block. On each sheet or block, have students identify an image that will appear with each piece of text.
Session 5: Publishing
Meeting in a computer lab or classroom with enough computers for every two students, have students (1) create their PowerPoint presentation templates, (2) keyboard their poems in chunks in each slide in their presentation, (3) insert images into their presentations, and (4) refine and edit their slides. You may find that distributing and using the Instruction Guide: Creating a PowerPoint Document, and the PowerPoint Assignment Requirements handouts with your students helpful as they complete their PowerPoint poems. Students with little keyboarding experience and/or who have not used PowerPoint previously may not be able to finish their poems in one session. Skilled students, however, may want to add background sound to their presentations.
- Have students use the Scoring Guide to assess the effectiveness of their presentations.
- After viewing the PowerPoints, have students respond to questions, such as “Which poems made you feel a part of the piece?” “Did you notice any ‘power lines’ in someone’s piece?” “Did anyone’s poem give you an idea for your next poem?” “What and why?”
- Note—I have found that students will be more concerned with their writing because it can now be viewed by several different audiences. If you have the opportunity to invite guests in for a day of presentations, do so. The school principal, parents, school secretaries make good audiences. They could give students feedback on their products as well.
I will be glad to share “I Am From” poems created by students and teachers in workshops and institutes I’ve taught previously. Contact me for URLs.
NCTE/IRA Standards and Missouri GLEs the lesson addresses (PDF)