Writing and Workshopping Found Poems

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Objective

SWBAT edit their found poems with the goal of bringing out a greater understanding of the elements of the novel.

Big Idea

The value in writing a poem lies in the process of choosing and arranging the words on the page.

Latin Roots Warm Up

10 minutes

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.

Writing Workshop

45 minutes

After the warm up, the students took out the found poems that they started to work on yesterday.  Then, working alone or quietly conferencing with someone else, the kids revised, edited, and rearranged their poems.

Some students found this assignment to be very difficult.  I think the fact that many of them were unfamiliar with found poems made them sort of hesitant to try.  Also, many of my pupils have perfectionist tendencies.  They want to do everything right.  The first time.  So, getting them to surrender to the process and just work on their poems (and maybe have fun with it was difficult.)

Occasionally, as I walked around and conferenced with students, I would ask a student to put his or her work-in-progress under the document camera, so their classmates could see how they were approaching the task.  This seemed to help with some of the anxiety.

Even though many of the students struggled at first, once they got going, they found it pretty doable.  Most of them were ready when it was time to transition to the computers for typing.

Typing the Poem

30 minutes

Lucky for me, my school has several rolling laptop carts with enough computers on them for a class of students.  So, once students were happy with their found poems, they could get a computer and type them up.

Computers are great tools for revising found poems, because it is so easy to move text on them.  An adaptation to the lesson that I used for a few students who struggle with the physical act of writing (due to dysgraphia or other problems) was to allow them to compose on the computer.  That cut down on some of their frustration and allowed them to really engage in the activity without too many distractions.