Earlier this month I celebrated National Poetry Month with fifth grade students. At the first library visit I read the picture book biography, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton written and illustrated by Dan Tate (Peachtree Publishers, 2015). This is a moving story about a slave who teaches himself to read and goes on to write poetry, publishing several books in his lifetime. This is a good book to read to these students as they study the U.S. Civil War and are very familiar with the concepts. We discuss how his poetry expressed his feelings about himself and his life.
“I Am” Poem Template
I found a template on the Freeology site (http://freeology.com/graphicorgs/i-am-poem-template/). I gave copies of the template to the teachers and instructed the students to express themselves as George Moses Horton did in his poetry. The teachers had their students complete their poems during morning work time or other convenient slot. Some of the students put a lot of effort and thought into writing their poems. I chose the best works and asked the students if they wanted me to video them reading them. Only 2 students out of about 20 declined.
Flip Camera, Windows Movie Maker and YouTube
Working around teachers’ schedules (they were all prepping their students for the upcoming Georgia Milestones, our state tests), I managed to record each class with a Flip camera. I still love these little cameras. So convenient and easy to use. I put the videos together using Windows Movie Maker. Now, ideally, if it weren’t the week before testing, I would have had the students put the movies together. However, I knew they didn’t have the time to take away from instructional time. I usually like to give them hands-on experience with this type of technology, even if it’s only a few students and not the entire class.
After completing the movies, I uploaded them to my YouTube channel and emailed each teacher the link to their class’s video. Then I did a post on our school’s Facebook page to let parents and community members see our students’ work.