National Poetry Month 2015

National Poetry Month 2015

writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ March 29, 2015
Recess Rewind

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”
  ~~Walt Whitman

We first featured National Poetry Month in a March 24, 2013 post titled “April is for Poets”.
We are featuring it again this Sunday with new links updating it to this year’s celebration.
With so many new friends finding their way to our blog, we decided that it was time to occasionally do a “Recess Rewind” with some “classic” TEC tips.
Enjoy…

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There is still time to plan for April and the National Poetry Month 2015.

National Poetry Month 2015

With the iPad and web tools, technology can take motivation and ideas to a whole new level.
To start, know that you can order a free copy of their annual poster for National Poetry Month 2015 from The Academy of American Poets.

Although posters are not guaranteed to arrive before April, it is a place to begin, and for $5, you can order past posters. The academy also offers a “Dear Poet Project” for upper grades on their website: poets.org. Included are four activities aligned to the Common Core Standards for grades 7-10.

Scholastic has a website to encourage writing poetry with published authors. Along with activities, students have the opportunity to “publish” their poems online to share with friends and family.

Another resource is from ReadWriteThink.org with online interactive poetry writing sites for students grades K-12.

Finally, a British website for “young writers” offers a list of different types of poetry with several examples of each. It is an excellent resource for student poetry anthologies. Students could choose their favorite types of poems to include in their personally created collection, or you could filter their choice depending on your students’ levels and abilities.

We hope this offers both you and your students some fresh ideas to motivate you as we enter the last months of our school year.

Enjoy your weekend! It’s chilly here, but the sun is shining and the crocuses are blooming. We are all looking forward to some April showers and more spring flowers!

April is for Poets

tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 3-24-2013

“Poetry is an echo,
asking a shadow to dance.”
  ~~Walt Whitman

There is still time to plan for April as Poetry Month.
With the iPad and web tools,
technology can take motivation and ideas to a whole new level.

To start,
know that you can order a free copy of their annual poster from
The Academy of American Poets.
Although posters are not guaranteed to arrive before April, it is a place to begin, and past posters are still available.

The academy also offers a “Dear Poet Project” for upper grades on their website: poets.org. Included are four activities aligned to the Common Core Standards for grades 7-10.

Scholastic has a website to encourage writing poetry with published authors. Along with activities, students have the opportunity to “publish” their poems online to share with friends and family.

Another resource is from ReadWriteThink.org with online interactive poetry writing sites for students grades K-12.

Finally, a British website for “young writers” offers a list of different types of poetry with several examples of each. It is an excellent resource for student poetry anthologies. Students could choose their favorite types of poems to include in their personally created collection, or you could filter their choice depending on your students’ levels and abilities.

We hope this offers both you and your students some fresh ideas to motivate you as we enter the last months of our school year.

Enjoy your weekend! It’s snowing here, and even though the crocuses are blooming, it still feels like winter. We are all looking forward to some April showers and more spring flowers! 😉

Prompting Needed

SMARTBoard tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 9-2-2012

Writing. 

For some of our students, this is difficult at best.

“How long does it have to be?”
“Does this count for a grade?”
“How many words do I have to write?”
“Does this have to be in cursive?”
“Does spelling count?”

In my classroom, journaling often began with a struggle,
but it was the one writing activity where I could see student growth.

By the end of the year, I could hear their voices,
but it was only as I read what they had written,
because while they were writing,
the room was completely silent.

Sometimes Shannon and I would provide assigned prompt suggestions,
and if these did not fit their needs or feed their imagination,
we would include suggestions from which they could choose.

I saw this “Imagination Prompt Generator” tweeted last week,
and after looking at it,
I knew it was something I would use.

The only problem was the advertising and “peripheral” distractions around the outside edge.

With that, I thought of a perfect example of how to use the new “SMARTBoard Internet Browser” element that was added in Notebook 11.

By adding a “frame” to cover the distractions on the webpage,
students can focus on the prompt and the task.

Feel free to download this Notebook file I have attached,
and tweak and change it as you wish.

Start out your first hour of the new week with a ready-made slide to bring on the “quiet”.

Stay dry,
and rest.
We love the 3-day weekend anyway we can get it!

Poems for the Poet

News tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-15-2012

April is “Poetry Month,
and with rain in the forecast,

(It IS April…)

why not help your students start their personal “Poetry Anthologies”.

The website www.readwritethink.org is an old friend,
and can make the task fun and easy.

When searching the theme, “Poetry”, the site offers 163 results,
including online tutorials, templates, and guides to many types of poems:

  • Acrostic
  • Catalog
  • Diamante
  • Haiku
  • Rebus
  • Riddle
  • Shape/Theme
  • Sports

as well as lessons to identify and teach poetic terms:

  • Alliteration
  • Assonance
  • Metaphor
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Rhyme
  • Simile

Need more help?

www.creative-writing-now.com

offers a list of poems that students will enjoy adding to their poetry collections
and a page filled with “how-to’s”.

It includes a free downloadable Microsoft “Sestina” template that can be used to guide your students’ writing.

(I know! I didn’t know what a “Sestina” was either!)

So, if you’re looking for something fun to teach,
and something fun for your students to learn,
try poetry.

It just sounds like a “Spring Thing” to me…

Little Bird Tales

classroom management writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 3-25-2012

Little Bird Tales” is a site that supports and encourages digital storytelling for younger children.

The only thing necessary is
an email address to create a free account,
a microphone,
and an imagination. 

Teachers can set up an account to generate a “School Code” which provides a platform to manage teachers, classrooms, and students.

Stories can be illustrated using uploaded images, but it also provides an “Art Pad” that allows younger students an easy way to create original pictures to illustrate their personal stories.

Stories can be embedded into class websites and easily shared with families. They also have the option to purchase the stories as an mp4.

This little video will provide more information,

and after viewing it,
we invite you to take a minute to visit  “Little Bird Tales”.

Other additional questions can be answered on the FAQ page.

If showers are in your forecast today,
and if you have a little one close by,
make this day a memory to record and keep after visiting

Grade Essays Faster?!

classroom management tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-15-2012

There it was.
In BIG, BOLD font.

“Grade Essays Faster”.

“Look, we can’t grade the essays for you, but we can reduce the repetitive, inefficient manual labor involved — and in doing so we open up a new world of invaluable student data.

Welcome to the future.”

Really?

I have friends who are English teachers.
I know how much time they spend grading papers.

Rough drafts.
Revised copies.
Final copies.

I don’t claim to know much more beyond fifth grade essays,
and what I had to write as a student, myself.

(Please don’t judge them. They tried.)

I do know that my teachers,
those who guided me, taught me, and encouraged me,
had to have put in countless hours reading and suggesting and correcting what I had written.

When I discovered this website, I thought it surely would be a tool that, as an English teacher, could be as valuable and indispensable as a calculator must be for a Math teacher.

Essaytagger.com is free during their “Beta Period”,
and that ends on February 1st.

Essaytagger.com is developed by Keith Mukai, M.Ed., a high school English teacher who is now the founder and CEO of EssayTagger.com.

Once the “Beta Period” ends, there will be a cost that is described here, in the FAQ Section.
Early adopters during this period will be “rewarded”.

Here are some quick links to videos that describe the program in more detail.

So, those of you who teach English,
or those of you who know English teachers,
I encourage you to check out this site and “share the love”.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us could “have a life”?

Outlines Made Easy

tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 11-13-2011

I’m talking about a free download from rynelf.com.

It’s an “Outline Generator” called Redhaven Outline,
and after “playing” with it for ten minutes this week, I was SOLD.

It only takes minutes to download, but it will save you hours and hours of generating outlines.

It has simplified the concept enough so that your students will be able to use it, as well.

I have included a screen capture,
and with “right clicks” and “click-and-drags”, you can manipulate the “nodes” of your outline.

Finally, when you select/highlight the “Outline Title”,
you can select the pull-down menu from “Reports” and choose “Export to clipboard using active report”.

Next, open your favorite word-processing program, and paste in your outline from the clipboard.

If you like, you can change the outline specifications through your word-processing program. I’ve included a link to view the outline generated from the screenshot samples.

Don’t be afraid to use the key short-cuts that are shown on the “right-click” menus. It took me just a couple of minutes to familiarize myself with them, speeding up the process even more.

Click on the image below to see a clear sample of what this program will look like on your screen.

Click on Compare-Contrast Essay Outline to view a pdf copy of the outline that is generated from the above view.

We would love to hear your opinion on this little program,
and whether you find it helpful.

Also, if you know of any other little generators that might help all of us,
please don’t be shy about sharing!

And enjoy your week. For many of us, it is a long week, sandwiched between two short ones.

And we’re thankful for that!

Another Great Writing Resource…

tips writing

Monday Morning Message ~ 8-22-2011

Last week I shared two websites that are great resources for teachers who teach writing.

Before the school year slips into “high gear”, I want to share one more that was brought to my attention.

http://www.writingfun.com/writingfun2010.html

 “Writing Fun” by Jenny Eather offers step-by-step guidance for students writing:

1. informational reports

2. procedures

3. recounts

4. explanations

5. persuasions

6. discussions

7. narratives

8. responses

9. descriptions

10. poetry

Each genre includes student examples, step-by-step guidance, and finally a page for students to enter their own work and print it. The Poetry Page includes an explanation and examples for 14 different types of poetic writing.

There is also a “subsection” on “everyday texts” giving attention to emails, news articles, letters, and invitations. One hint that might be helpful is that with all of the information that is loaded on each page and link, the easiest way to navigate through this site is by using the “Menu” tab located on the right side of each page that will take you back to the “Home Page”.

Please take a moment to visit this site and test it out. I think you will find it an excellent alternative writing resource.

Next week I’ll share a few more “keystroke” shortcuts that will help save precious time.

Enjoy what, for many of you, will be your first full week back to school.

Make every minute count, and make every student feel as though they matter.

Help Your Students Breathe… Out

tips writing

Monday Morning Message ~ 8-15-2011

Pam Allyn writes, “Reading is breathing in and writing is breathing out”.

Every year I recommitted myself as a teacher to promote and teach more student writing in my class.

Some years were better than others.

This week I would like to share two sites that might be helpful.

The first is one that is one that I have long used.
Like an old friend,
www.readwritethink.org has been a huge resource that I’ve depended on for many years.

Two of the “interactive tools” that I have my students use are:

   1. The “Story Map”, and

   2. The “Plot Diagram”.

A new resource I stumbled on, and am very excited about, ishttp://www.wordtamer.co.uk/

This is also an interactive website, but this site includes videos that direct, teach, lead, and help students make creative, personal choices to guide them as they begin the writing process, again.

The “Master of Ceremonies” is the “Word (Lion) Tamer”, and the “Study Help” videos are presented by Judy Waite who, in her British accent, clarifies further what students can do to begin and perfect their writing.

I hope these two sites will help you be a little more fearless as you begin a new year, and as you encourage your students to write.

We would love to have your comments and hear about your experiences as you use these sites to start the new year.