In our April webinar, Andy Schoenborn (@aschoenborn), a high school ELA teacher, the Past President of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English, and the current Vice-President of the Michigan Reading Association discussed some of the incredible ways he teaches poetry in his classes. Andy talks about the importance of helping students find their voices and building the belief that they not only have something to say, but they have the ability and multiple ways to express it.
Andy started his presentation by showing a portion of Jason Reynold’s poem “For Everyone” and inviting us to write about the prompt “why we write” under the starter “Dear Dreamer.” He then talked about how he makes reading and writing relevant to his students in our exhausted education system, and that they, too, are also tired stragglers just like educators themselves. Inviting us to answer the question about why we write, Andy got several participants to share their reflections on why they work with the words. Andy also shared a student’s poem about why she writes, all to remind us of the power our words have.
Then, Andy introduced us to a variety of ways you could discuss poetry with students. He believes if we take the time to discuss poetry as multimodal text, students will see it as more accessible and something they can write. Andy shows us how we might go about discussing about some of the multimodal strategies with G.Yamazawa’s spoken word poem “Elementary” as a multimodal text, one that engaged students in an effort to understand the power of words.
For his final demonstration of how you might use the multimedia approach to writing, Andy had participants write about shoes we remembered owning and wearing. He then showed us a model text that he also shares with students; in it, he turns a paragraph into a poem and offers some strategies we might try with our own students.
Though Andy didn’t get through all of his presentation slides, he has allowed us to share them because they are stuffed full of poetry activities, poems and many other goodies to use in our own classroom.
The Chippewa River Writing Project is a site of the National Writing Project at Central Michigan University. Currently, our site is supported only through grants and professional development work. Teacher consultants involved in the webinar series are donating their time, talent, and energy to these events.
If you appreciate the ideas that these teacher consultants are sharing, and are willing to support our work, please visit <giving.cmich.edu> and select “Chippewa River Writing Project.” If you are interested in having us work with your school or district, please contact our Director, Dr. Troy Hicks <email@example.com>. Find out more about CRWP at <chippewariverwp.org>.