Infusing 21st Century Skills into Poetry…

Infusing 21st Century Skills into Poetry is my culminating artifact for my 21st Century Fellows Program. My goal has been to correlate ELA 8 GPS Standards with the five(5) 21st Century Competencies—collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, and global connections. The fun part has been figuring out how best to bring poetry to life while at the same time infusing the five competencies into our study. I say “our study” because I love to read & analyze & write poetry as much as many of my students. It looks like it’s going to be an engaging unit—one with 21st Century value!
Day one: I introduced our study of poetry by having each student create his own “Wordle” over the word “POETRY.” These products were awesome. The program fosters creativity by allowing students to type in various words related to poetry—i.e. metaphor, simile, allusion, symbol, theme, poetic devices, etc…. It then creates a colorful, interesting array of the words they typed in. We then used the wordles for an introductory discussion of our poetry unit.
dOur second learning opportunity involve Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s poem, “We Wear the Mask.” . After applying the TPCASTT method for analysis, we wrote a reflective journal on identity—how each of us “wears” different masks at different times. Monday’s assignment is going to be for each student to research how masks are represented in his/her own culture—in preparation for each student creating an original mask. My goal has been for students to learn the artistic & cultural value of masks as well as how masks bring identity to a people.

In addition to reading, analyzing, and writing original poetry, students enjoyed a visit and presentation from a real, published poet—Paul Samuels. I was able to contact the Georgia Poets Society, which in turn put me in touch with Mr. Samuels. To the delight of my students, Mr. Samuels delivered many of his favorite poems, then he led a writing exercise with my classes. The students did an excellent job of writing original poetry.
Our culminating activity involved the students creating original poetry anthologies. They were required to utilize my list of top ten websites to infuse 21st Century competencies into their poetry anthologies. Students were required to explore how prose and poetry differ; write a name acrostic, bio poem, define poetic elements using mnemonic devices, create original similes and metaphors, create a creative concrete poem, find examples on-line of personification, research their favorite Georgia poet, analyze the theme of many poems, and even create original haikus. These anthologies were awesome—in print and electronically.
Mr. Lloyd’s Top Ten Websites for Infusing 21st Century Skills into Poetry:
The National Council of Teachers of English offers info on the teaching of writing.
The National Writing Project shares reports of outstanding practice & research practice.
The Teachers & Writer’s Collaborative–a valuable resource for teachers of poetry and creative writing.
The Yale-New Have Teachers Institute has 25 years of archived interesting classroom lessons.
An excellent site with audio links of poets reading their own poetry.
Our organization was founded in 1979 for the purpose of bringing into community poets and poetry lovers in the state of Georgia.
Need a rhyming word?
Lists of poems to which kids most relate.
Neat website for creating shape (concrete) poems.
The Writer’s Almanac from NPR with host Garrison Keillor. My favorite radio show!
Bonus Site:
Five (5) really engaging ways to utilize the net and poetry.