Creating Found Poems
Lesson 3 of 8
Objective: SWBAT highlight a theme or aspect of the novel through the development of found poems.
Warm Up: Latin Roots
This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day. The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard. Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means. After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.
The students compile these daily activities in their class journals. After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.
As soon as I began talking about this assignment, I was confronted with an unexpected twist -- none of my students had ever even heard of a found poem. Hmm. That was a first.
Because I had assumed that most of my students would have heard of a found poem before, I didn't have an examples to show them. I contemplated whipping one up on the spot, but I decided instead to explain it and see what they would do.
I used the handout and talked the students through it. Many of them were pretty resistant to the idea of using another person's words in their own poem. But I encouraged them to choose an aspect of the book that they found interesting and to explore it using textual evidence. That seemed to help.
The students who were willing to just jump in and pull text were the easy ones. The ones that I have who "never write ten words down when five will suffice" were harder to convince.
Note: If you don't have a lot of experience with found poetry, the Library of Congress has a great project that you might want to check out. It involves creating found poetry out of historical documents (not what we are doing here,) but it has some great definitions and explanations. The project is cool, too.
Writing Found Poems
At first, students had trouble deciding how to begin. They resisted the "find some words you think are interesting approach" and, instead, decided to write about something that they found interesting, like the friendship or the Super Suicide Society or a particular character.
Generally speaking, when students are at the composing stage, I try not to interfere. If you start "helping," they will find a way to make the poem yours, instead of theirs.
Tomorrow, we will work on editing, shaping/re-shaping and reworking the poems. That's when the real work begins.