Tag Archives: poetry teller

Poetry Teller Part 2

We did it! I wrote last week about my experimentation with a poetry teller, a way for my students to go back through their own poetry and then play around with remixing their poetry with a classmate.

So this morning, students folded their way into their collaborative game. Some students were familiar with classic fortune tellers and were eager to put their fingers into the folds and start moving the teller around. And no one seemed to think it was one bit strange to make this into a poetry tool. They found colors, they located interesting nouns, and pinpointed some poetic phrases–all from their cache of poems written during April. In partners they played with their poetry tellers, collecting words and phrases that they knew they would use soon for some poetry writing.

I set the parameters: use the words you collected (it’s okay if there is a word you decide not to use), you can add extra words of your choice, make the poem make sense, and have fun! We used that magical 7 minute timer and students’ pencils flew across the page. When the chime sounded, hands shot up. They had poems to share!

Here’s a couple (these are third graders, 8 and 9 years old):

Words collected: blood orange, green, snow, lamp, the sun is cotton candy, the puddles of the ditch

Poem:

Unusual

The sky is blood orange

the lamp is green

the trees are snow

the sun is cotton candy

the puddles of the ditch are rainbow

there’s something fishy today

And another:

Words collected: ice, profusion, cats, frame, the sunlight bounces into my eyes, illumination, snowy caps, sister, hooves, the cloud is as soft and big, it covers the sky like a blanket

Poem:

Transition to Spring

Ice.

A very cold word

You see it a lot during brutal winters.

Hooves pounding on cold snow under our feet.

Cats.

Sinking their paws into the snow.

The snowy caps on mountain tops

are guarded by a forest.

There are many natural frames in the

tree tops.

Then the snow is illuminated by the sun.

I step outside and the sunlight bounces into my eyes.

My sister’s snowman melts away.

The clouds are so soft and big.

They cover the sky like a blanket.

It is spring now.

Making games out of writing definitely infuses playfulness into the process for kids. They loved manipulating their poetry tellers and would have played with them much longer than I had time for today. I count this as a win–and as a great way to have students remix poems. I’d love to hear what you would do with a tool/toy like this one. How would you modify it to support writers and learners?

Poetry Teller: NPM #30

Earlier this week I read a post by a virtual friend, NomadWarMachine, who described her path to transforming the origami fortune teller of our youth into what she called a line of thought-une teller. I immediately knew that this would be a great activity to modify for my students as a culmination of our month of poetry writing.

My idea is to have my students mine their month of poetry, pulling colors, words, and poetic phrases to construct a poetry teller. Once constructed, I see it as a game where partners play the poetry teller to collect a set of words and phrases that they will then use to compose a version of a found poem that includes their words and those of their partner.

I experimented with my own poetry teller, playing this game with myself. I collected two phrases, two colors, and four nouns from my poetry. Then I worked to arrange and rearrange them into a new poem.

You can see my prototype poetry teller and resulting poem below.

I look forward to trying this out with students next week, I hope they find this to be a fun and generative way to look back at their own poems, collect some language from their peers, and have a meaningful activity to remix the two as they create new poetic compositions.

Here is my poetry teller composition:

The Blues

More ancient than a dinosaur

Resilient as a dandelion

Blues ring out

Notes the color of robin’s eggs

Circling me in melodies

With rhythms as ferocious and regal

As the queen of the urban forest

Sounds as soft as butter

Wrapping me in the

Yellow of wildflowers

Tiny suns

The center of the solar system

Matching the pounding of my heart

The beat of my breath

Essential as air

®Douillard