Friday, April 15, 2011

Poem in My Pocket, Students on My Screen

Thursday, April 14, was National Poem in Your Pocket Day, an annual celebration which invites people of all ages to "select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends."

While this event was not designed exclusively as a library or school event, it certainly lends itself beautifully to those venues. Lacking students of my own, I was delighted to "borrow" some from my virtual colleagues.

John Schumacher started the ball rolling by inviting me, Shannon Miller, Jennifer Malphy, Kathy Schmidt, all school librarians, and teachers Donna Kouri and Stephen Gagnon, to collaborate in a Google Document, where we set up a schedule for Skyping throughout the day. For my part, I shared a few poems, read - and sang - a rhymed story, and listened to students recite their selections, some original.

Benefits for the students:
  • exposure to poetry
  • public speaking practice
  • the "cool factor" of connecting with adults and children in five states

Benefits for teachers:
  • having an audience made the experience more authentic for students
  • connections were made for future projects, possibly one involving photography and poetry

Our Skype interaction was the perfect example of using a tool to enhance and extend learning experiences. It was certainly not the only activity in which these students participated for Poem in Your Pocket Day, but it was a memorable one for all of us.

The poem I shared was:

Pretty Words by Elinor Wylie

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

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