NH Poetry Out Loud 2012-2013
Teacher Orientation Notes combined
Getting Started: Poetry in the Classroom- variations on applying the poetry curriculum :
● Some schools have the recitation as voluntary, some require it
● A school started the program incorporating just AP students
● Some schools ask students to write about why they chose their poem
● Poetry work becomes part of writing portfolio for some schools
● Sarah, from Holderness outlined pieces of her program:
○ Making lists of all kinds of poems (masculine poems, poems with animals, etc)
○ Students must present their poem and their poet- 2 slides 2 minutes
○ “Font your poem” exercise
○ Warm up- girl poem, boy poem- groups say the poem together
● Stephanie, from Kingswood outlined her plan:
○ Starts with what/why poetry is about
○ Students choose a poem they love
○ Tone Map lesson- S. recommends this highly
○ Performance game- “look up, look down” eye contact exercise
○ Recitation performance counts as a test grade; memorization = extra credit
○ S. says: that POL is “not an extra thing, it is the way I teach poetry- the best way!”
○ Recommends: “Brave New Voice” youtube video; “I’m Thinking about You”; “Pretty” poetry slam
● James, from Kearsarge back plans to have the content culminate the week before winter carnival. Students get points for participating and attending. The curriculum is voluntary for teachers and not necessarily connected to competition. 25 students competed last year, 8 went on to school championship, plans for 12 this year.
● Maureen, from Dover coordinates to create an integrated arts day, working with scholastic arts awards and UNH chamber music event. Many teachers participate in the program, and it is mandatory for all 9th graders, but Maureen also offers an after school group version to incorporate students who want to participate and don’t have a participating teacher. Holds run off events in January. Gets 500 at event.
● Alison, from Pembroke:”I begin by having students go to the computer lab and choosing their own poems. They have a worksheet that they need to fill out about the poem that they choose. All students must participate, but I tell all my students that if they are interested in the school competition, they need to choose 2 poems. For our classroom competition, they only need to recite one poem. Students have already learned and recited a Shakspearean monologue in the fall, so they know what to expect.
- Integrates learning of POL poems with a poetry unit.
- Looks at a large variety of poems and has students write poetry as well.
- Works on memorization strategies and give students designated time just to work on paraphrasing, chunking, silent reading, and partner practicing with their poems.
● Analyze a partner’s poem exercise
● Illustrating the poem assignment
● Poetry Scavenger Hunt- one page worksheet
Designing a School Competition that Makes Sense for Your School- variations:
● Small, voluntary, after school “club” version: promoting the program via the library, finding partners in the school and community volunteers to help. Learning after year 1: Getting a calibrator=important!
● Large, during school day, standing room only version: administrators and teachers as judges, student jazz band for interludes
● Gloria from Jesse Remington-small school: created “winter wonderland” -special night out ambiance with twinkling lights; uses integrated arts approach;has music playing, coordinator did emcee role, but thinks it’s better if that doesn’t happen. Judges get folder with laminated scoring criteria sheet. Judges come ½ hour prior for their training.Gloria has developed an additional spread sheet to help judges.
- Alison, from Pembroke- holds school competition in second week of February to get as many English teachers on board as possible. Encourages teachers to dedicate at least three weeks to POL at the start of the semester. Some students, who have competed in previous years, have started long before this. Has 3 judges each year, including headmaster. Orients other judges with the materials and a "judges how to session" before the actual competition. Offers coaching meetings after school before the competition. After the school competition, our 2 winners, meet with school co-coordinators several times for coaching.
Student input: (At Holderness Orientation, we had 3 students sit in on part of the meeting and 1 student presented a poem; at Hopkinton, we had 1 student present a poem and answer some questions.)
● Finding the poem- some by luck, some by title, some given suggestions- but all agreed the poem had to mean something to them to make it work.
● Helping kids sift through poems for poem choice is a challenge
● If anyone has list of poems to share it would help us all! humorous poems, angry poems, love poems, poems by women, bilingual poems, nonamerican poems, etc
● Need to know about scholarship opportunities. For some schools it helps to draw students into the program.
● Getting peers on board: get them to see it once (sells itself);reaching out to world language, social studies teachers, reading teacher;getting peers to be judges, kids promote within school
● Selling points: the program involves that “different” kid; sparks inspiration in teachers and students
The National Competition- what happens when your student represents NH in Washington DC:
Jason Lambert shared his experience last spring:
○ whirlwind- busy, fun, challenging schedule of recitations
○ degree of polish, consistency- concept of what it takes: self awareness, poem selection is key, tone of the poem/tone of the presentation
Cynthia shared learning points she gathered from other states during nationals. Favorite moment: seeing a group of students, who did not advance, performing their 3rd poem to each other in a sandwich shop- sharing their poems/experience. “Level of Difficulty” discussion: this category will most likely go away after this year. Cynthia reported that this criteria point is contentious for many states, as it asks judges to make a judgement about the poems themselves.
Several school report preparing the level of difficulty score for their judges, which is not exactly what is supposed to happen, but is understandable. This does not happen at state level- which is why we need the poem choices in advance of the semifinals.
What does “dramatic appropriateness” mean? A group discussion on finding that balance in presenting dynamic recitations
● Letting the words carry the weight
● physical support of the poem
● seems natural, not choreographed
● owning the story
● voice- the student’s own
● connect with audience
● encourage range of tones, starting at school level.
● judges can be sucked in by drama
Question raised by a teacher regarding NH rule that previous state champions can not compete in subsequent years. Discussion at that orientation revealed that teachers were open to retracting that rule. Cynthia and Arlene will bring the question to the Advisory group.
● Competition Timing and Personnel (handout attached)
● Resources handout (attached)
● New blog is the place for deadlines, info:
● National site has lots of helpful info: www.poetryoutloud.org
● Toolkits: read them cover to cover, suggest this also to peer teachers
New Student Clinic Event: Cynthia introduced the concept of a gathering(not mandatory) open to all school champions and alternate champions for a “clinic” that would include microphone and presentation coaching. Potential date is Sunday Feb.17, which may encourage schools to hold their competitions ahead of this date.
If you would like to invite a poet to your school, let us know, and we can refer you.
Teacher participated in an exercise to consider the team approach to the program. What task could you get someone else to do? What are the key tasks you have to get done ahead of time? What are the challenging pieces?
● Intro to English dept- get more teachers involved
● Rotary- scholarship, board presentation
● Collaborating with other teachers to plan classroom lesson
● Guest presentations from community
● Presentation workshops
● Get someone else to attend orientation
● Contact local businesses for monetary/other support
● Looking at calendar to set school competition date
● Find time in class for practice
● Plan publicity, newspaper coverage
● Scholastic awards connection
● Announce POL competition to school
● Get other arts teachers involved to be part of competition event
● Guest judge in the classroom
● Find outside judges
● Cultivation of support, judges, volunteers
● Back planning to give students enough time to be ready
● Get development director to mine alumni for judges
● Recruit MC
● Line up space and support materials for competition
● Dress rehearsal?
● Snacks planning/planning refreshments- parents? other group for fundraiser?Lit mag?
● provide extra support and coaching for students competing in school championship
● Figure out how we will pare our 100 competitors down to 20
● Coordinate prizes
● Plan musicians
● From classroom comp. to school wide, a couple of “tune-up” workshops led by qualified community members- dept./school/local in prep for school comp.
● Assign 2 community members to get gift donations for winners
● Entertainment- get someone else to plan/supervise it
● Copying program
● Copy poems
● Catering? flowers?
● Get someone else to promote the event
● Plan for kids to observe the event
● Organize papers/scoring sheets for judges, directions for judges
● Get someone to videotape the event
● Help students practice memorization- collaborate with other teachers?
● Getting kids to come to the evetn
● Meet with school winners to prepare for state semifinals
● Create notebooks for judges