Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Small, but Powerful! Spoken Word Poetry Unit for 4th Grade

I've been looking for resources to use for a fourth grade study on poetry that will culminate with a poetry slam. Here's what I've found so far:

News Hour with Jim Lehrer did a cool segment on poetry. Here, for teachers, they have the Poetry Box Rules that highlight poetry as the art of words, and describe the tools and forms of poetry. They also have one lesson plan on using the poetry slam to teach the mechanics of poetry.

Schooltube has a video of a second grade classroom's poetry slam. (Adorable.)

Hey You! C'mere! A Poetry Slam
seems like an interesting book to check out.
From Publishers Weekly
Everyone's a poet, according to this exhortative poetry-reading and street-theater combo: "You've got a poem in your pocket, A poem on your tongue, did you know that? You can be the poet and you can be the poem too. Yesssss!" To prove it, seven young poets roam their city block on a summer day, using ordinary situations as material for syncopated storytelling. The players' portraits and names appear in the table of contents, so that each one is identifiable during their improv. Ratchit, a bold prankster, repeats a tough kid's threat ("Hey you, c'mere, Whatsa matter witcha"), while his friend Jacob describes a timid reaction to bullying in "A Good Cry." Mattie mimics her mother's phone voice "Yeah, uh huh, uh huh" in a song. While Doria creates a nonsense riff on "Silly Names" ("Mr. Grub T. Mudstuck, Diane Doobey Doo, Fineas Figmuff and Tina Tutoo..."), Ratchit sneaks off to play a joke on the group; after his ghostly noises inspire his friends' frightened poem, "Monsters," Ratchit laughs, then composes a reiterative "Sorry." Swados, author of the musical play Runaways, crafts an upbeat series of poems and dramatic asides. Using a crackling-hot palette of orange, summer green and blue-violet, Cepeda (What a Truly Cool World) limns a vibrant cityscape and brings out the strong personalities of the multiracial group. The slangy words and upbeat visuals suggest that poetry happens in casual conversation and friendship; readers might want to try this "slam" as a real play or spin some verse of their own. Ages 6-12.
Education World has a few lesson plans as well.

There Are Still Kids: Amazing Poem

There Are Still Kids
by Crystal Tettey

In a world of adult policies
There are still kids
Where milk is left to curd, then sold
There are still kids
Where wombs are shattered
There are still kids

Where an arm is the price of a meal
Where a meal is the price of an arm
There are still kids

Where power outages deny us TV
There are still kids
Where solitude is safe, fun is sorry
There are still kids
On a playground of mines
There are still kids
At peace conferences that echo war
There are still kids

In a world where adults vote
There are still kids
In schools silenced by artillery
There are still kids
In homes emptied by bombs
There are still kids
Our land cracks at her sides
There are still kids

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What is Quality? What are the Qualities of Quality?

Harvard's Project Zero has just released The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education. How do we create and sustain high quality arts instruction? And what is it, anyway?

Here's one small tidbit from the press release.
Quality reveals itself “in the room” through four different lenses. There are multiple dimensions of quality in arts learning experiences. Four lenses were found to be especially useful in focusing attention on different aspects of excellence in arts education settings: learning, teaching, classroom community, and environment.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Farewell, Pina Bausch

The beautiful choreographer of tanztheater, Pina Bausch passed away today at 68.

Pushing the boundaries between theater and dance, she has said she was "not interested in how people move, but in what moves them."