Make Word Mosaic

Earlier this week, someone requested a link to a concrete poetry making site on the SCASL (South Carolina Association of School Librarians) listserv.

Today as I was reading and tweaking my Google Reader, I came across a new tool through Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day that looks very promising: ImageChef‘s Make Word Mosaic.

ImageChef’s simple description: “Write a comment or poem in the shape of hearts or other symbols.
Send a greeting or post to MySpace or your blog.”

After you have chosen your symbol and typed in the text you wish to include, click on the heart symbol to the right of the text box and you can add a variety of symbols to your word mosaic. In the example below, I added musical notes, envelopes, stars, and people to the mosaic.


Another Po Folk* Resource

I found an interesting post  from Bright Ideas in my Google Reader this morning on Teacher’s TV.  The site is operated by Education Digital, an independent media consortium in London.  The site offers thousands of educational programs both online and on tv.

Since this is National Poetry Month, I thought I would focus on the resources the site offered on poetry.  One video, Resource Review -Secondary English, discussed three online resources and how they were used in the classrooom. One interesting one that was new to me is the BBC’s GCSE Bitesize – English – Poetry Slideshow.   


Although the concept of creating a slideshow with images to accompany the reading of a poem is not new, I found the teachers’ discussion to be interesting.  One teacher disliked how literal the images were – which could detract from the overall meaning of the poem.  Another disliked that only one line of a poem was displayed underneath an image; she would prefer that the entire poem be displayed on the side as the images were shown. 

The number of poems on the website is limited, but some include more than just the slideshow. “Dulce Et Decorum Est,” for example gives background information on World War I, helping to place it in context for students. 

A contest that combines celebrating National School Library Month and National Poetry Month idea:  students create slideshows using Photostory that can be shown during the last week in April. 


* Po folk = poetry folk, those with poetry in their souls

R U a Po Folk?

PicLit from
See the full PicLit at

I’m a Po Folk, r u? 

“Po folk” is poet Allan Wolf‘s term for those who have poet’s souls.  “No po”….well…self-explanatory.  So, if you’re a Po Folk,  this is your month to celebrate!  Try one  or more of these multimedia ways to bring poetry to life:



  • Listen to poems read by a variety of people (including Anthony Hopkins, James Earl Jones, Alyssa Milano, and N. Scott Momaday)
  • Listen to Gwendolyn Brooks’ explanation and reading of “We Real Cool” along with other poems found here

Web  2.0 Tools for Writing Your Own Poetry




Get your poetry fix on your cell phone:

Enter your own poetry poster in the Free Verse Project sponsored by


Pic Lits

PicLit from
See the full PicLit at

Pic Lits is magnetic poetry – only better for a couple of reasons:

1.  You use a photo as a visual stimulus for your writing

2.  You are not limited to a selected set of words

To get started, go to the home page and choose a picture that inspires you and then add your thoughts directly to the picture.  You can choose to drag and drop words from a menu below the picture or use the “freestyle” option (like I did for the one linked to above) so that you aren’t limited by the available words.

If you want to save or share your PicLit, you must register for a free account.  Very easy – you provide your email, a password, and a pen name and you are ready to unleash your inner poet!

Interested to see how others were inspired by the same photo once you have completed and saved yours?  Click on the option beneath your saved work.

“Poe” try Fall ‘Fest 2008

Each fall, our Poetry Festival Committee meets to begin planning our yearly events.  For the past several years we have included a fall fine arts mini-festival to supplement our week long spring poetry festival.  This year we decided to host the two day event at the end of October and call it the “POE”try Fall ‘Fest (with the emphasis on Poe – as in Edgar Allan).

We normally have open mics during all three lunches, but because past participation was often sporadic at best, we asked one of our Creative Writing classes to lead us in the open mic by reading poetry and short stories.  English classes attended both Thursday and Friday, with several students from many classes adding to our open mic readings.

Another addition this year was a huge hit.  We extended our celebration into fourth block on Friday.  The German class recited a poem in both English and German by a poet who is considered Poe’s German counterpart.  The orchestra delighted us with their performance of a creepy tune, and students from our art classes rocked the house with original skits based on their interpretation of “American Gothic” brought to life.

The decorations for the festival were over the top!  The art students created the haunted house backdrop which included the tombstones of the two American masters who provided the inspiration for our festival: Edgar Allan Poe and Grant Wood.  Mrs. Stafford spent hours working her magic with all the other decorations, many of which focused on Poe. 

The success of this year’s fall mini-festival is due to the efforts of our talented teachers and students.  Thanks to all who participated!

Poetry Festival Planning

What began as a collaboration between our former head media specialist and an English teacher to create a poetry celebration seven years ago has become an annual spring poetry festival at my school. We’ve included a variety of activities over the years, but the mainstays have been visits from published poets and performers, a poetry contest for students who either attend our high school or come from elementary and middle schools that feed into our school, Open Mic days in the media center, and a Poetry Slam to cap the week.

I am preparing for our first Poetry Festival Committee meeting on Monday and want to suggest using technology and Web 2.0 tools to add a new dimension to our festival.  So I’m spending some time this weekend culling sites and thoughts to present and thought I’d share them here in case others are interested in doing the same.

Poetry 180: a Poem a Day for American High Schools  The perfect starting place to celebrate poetry all year long.

Favorite Poem Project This is a collection of 50 short documentaries of Americans reciting their favorite poem.  Each individual’s story is told to show the poem’s relevance to his/her life.

Magnetic Poetry Online You can choose from ten kits (including Shakespeare, Genius, College, Cat Lover, Pickup Lines, and My Friend) to use to create your own poetry.  The kits are composed of word tiles which can be manipulated just like the magnetic kits you buy for your refrigerator (or other magnetic surface).

Poetry Foundation’s Online Journal: Video “A series of short poetry films featuring poets reading their own work, animated interpretations of much-loved poems, and celebrities reading personal favorites, produced by WGBH and David Grubin Productions, and student filmmakers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s docUWM media center.” (excerpt from the web site)

Poetry Out Loud Best Performances Video This video is a compilation of the performances of 11 students in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest.  The accompanying text explains the key strengths of each performance and provides suggestions for the video’s use as well as links to download evaluation criteria, scoring sheets, a judge’s guide, and FAQ .

Spotlight on Voices and Visions This site highlights the poets in Annenberg Media’s Voices and Visions series.  It provides links to each of the thirteen poets featured in the series.  From each poet’s site, you can read information about the poet and click on links to audio and video clips of the poet’s work being read.

Web tools for teacher and student use in the celebration of poetry:   Students could create a collage of images to accompany their own audio recording of a favorite poem.

Digital Storytelling Alan Levine shares 50 ways to share a digital story in this wiki.  Many could be used to share poetry.

Edublogs Teachers could create a blog where they post original student work and moderate student comments.

Wordle Students could type in one or more favorite poems and create a word collage to display.


Image attribution:

Image: ‘magnetic poetry
magnetic poetry

Surfing Serendipity

Today I was checking out some of the recommended teacher blogs in “50 Must-Read Up and Coming Blogs by Teachers” and stumbled upon “Labeling Keys.”

Beautifully recited poetry that makes you laugh but also think.  My thanks go out to the Ultimate Teacher, writer of “One crazy teacher to another….” blog.