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  1. jennymackness

    Hi Elizabeth – I was a ModPoer last year – and I too found that the course had an amazing impact on me – but in a different way to you. I could find all sorts of parallels between the poets’ open minds and creativity and learning in open online environments. It’s great to read about how you are applying what your learned in ModPo to your classroom πŸ™‚ Really enjoyed reading this post. It brought back all sorts of ModPo memories.

  2. Mark

    I’ve used poetry in my teaching too, but with mixed results. I teach in the Arab world where poetry is still the primary literary art form. Prose does not excite them – but poetry in English can be dense.

    I have used Dickinson, Tell all the truth but tell it slant (using lesson plans created by the Paideia Center, (Chapel Hill, NC), the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet, Nizar Qabbani’s “Letter from a stupid woman” (YouTube), and Taylor Mali’s “Like totally, whatever” (Slam poetry – YouTube – Clintarded).

    Poetry is ideal for close reading, because it is dense. The more you dig, the more you get. It always gets a rise out of everyone but you need to be prepared to go where it takes you. You need to let go and allow students to say that they think, do what they do…

    For younger kids, Alice can be fun: The Owl and the Pussy Cat; The Walrus and the Fisherman; and Jabberwocky are three I like to use.

    As a sub you probably have a lot more freedom others in the public sector. If your only in for a day or two, you might do something short and self contained – create a little garden around yourself – and not worry too much about aligning with curricula and apple cores. A few days of unschooling might actually wake some kids up and spark an interest in learning.

    I really enjoyed your post and loved hearing about some of the things you do in class… Don’t worry about writing publicly about education. People have been shouting from the rooftops for decades but the great minds in charge of public are . It makes no difference to them. As it was said for Caesar, so to them: “You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!” 1.1.3

  3. carol yeager

    How wonderful that you have been able to tap into the natural student creativity, if only for a few, brief times. I suspect you will find more opportunities, especially when the students enjoy the process so much. Thanks for sharing your experiences. As Mark said, do, not worry about your public declarations here … no minds in charge of public education dare venture here … it would require too much effort of thinking on their part πŸ™‚
    And, yes, when I was a sub in the public schools, I seemed to have more freedom, than when a full time hired hand to make sure the students passed their exams. I was a rebel anyway πŸ™‚ and found ways around the strictures in the classroom. I still recall a supervisor severely chastising me for leaning against the front of the “teachers” desk instead of behind it πŸ™‚ I promised that I would never do †˙at again, and I didn’t. I pulled up a chair and sat among the students, and from time to time, had them sit in the teacher’s chair, or in front of the desk … we became a team of learners, and I follow that philosophy today, in the online venues.

    When the admin need you, as in sub work, you have a bit more freedom. When they do not need you, they transfer you to another location … then, you have choices to make πŸ™‚ I value my freedom, and that of the students, and generally move on to something more fun and less constricted. A bit of ingenuity and lots of creativity and experimentation can take one a long way and still allow the bills to be paid!

    Kudos to you and keep the fun in learning!

  4. Jim Stauffer

    Great stories as well as practical examples of using the existing curriculum to justify what you love doing. I think if I’d had English teachers like you 50 years ago I might have a different attitude toward poetry.
    Would you consider leading a poetry appreciation MOOC for people like me of the “why can’t poets just say what they mean” ilk – or perhaps a manga MOOC?

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