Tuesday, May 6, 2014

National Poetry Month School-Wide Poetry Collaboration Project

As indicated in prior reflections, inspiration can lurk in a variety of places.  That being said, I was inspired by the collaboration session at TLA 2014 with Andy Plemmons and Shannon Miller.  I mentally added “more collaboration” to my radar for the 2014-2015 school year.  But for those who know me best, I couldn’t wait for next year and reached out to other middle school librarians during April’s National Poetry Month celebration.  So here is the outline of this event.

What: The event began in a Google document that was shared with other Texas middle school librarians outlining a simple celebration for each school to write a school-wide poem and on a mutually agreed date we would share a school word cloud, have students recite some of the poem, and answer questions from each other about our school through a Google Hangout (GHO).

Sue Fitzgerald - Pike Middle School
Jamie Eikenberry - Wilson Middle School
Sandra Carswell - S.C Lee Junior High
Sonja Shultz - Mike Moses Middle School
Michelle Cooper -Henderson Middle School
Tobi Sheon - Copperas Cove Junior High
Lucy Pomore - Hector P. Garcia Middle school

Process:  I along with others used a smore and Google form and asked students, parents, and faculty to participate in submitting 5 words each to the poem that began Pike is.  It was a challenging time with testing but I was proud to have received 148 lines to our poem.  After fixing a few spelling mistakes (awesome was our most misspelled word) I copied and pasted the poem directly from Google sheets into Wordle - easy process.  After clicking on the remix and saving a variety of Wordle screenshots I produced an Animoto that included some of my favorite lines from our poem.  

Google Hang Out (GHO):  Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances only 3 of us were able to participate in the GHO.  Technology issues, opening of a new school, and teaching prevented 4 from participating live but we were still able to share their projects in the GHO.  We spent 15-20 minutes sharing our poetry, learning about a school miles away, and participating in a collaborative activity.  It was awesome.

Problems We Encountered: I’m sure you can guess we experienced technology issues in a practice GHO a few days prior but during the event all went well.  It was difficult to coordinate 7 library schedules and we ended up with only 3 libraries during the GHO.  Others were kind enough to send an Animoto or project that we shared live in the GHO.

Reflection:  Everyone agreed (including the students) that this was an awesome event and we should look for more collaborative opportunities in the future.  For anyone interested in other projects please reach out to your PLN or send one of us an email.  Open the door and let the opportunities into your library program.

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