Publishing Student Poetry

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It’s the last week of school – Yay!  One project I am trying to get finished up is a book of poetry using the photo albums I bought a couple of months ago.  The photo albums are small (4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ by 1/2″) and hold 16 photos (4″ x 6″).  I already purchased blank white 4 x 6 index cards to slip into the photo sleeves.

The thing that was stumping me was how to cover them.  My first thought was to paint over the outside of the booklet with gesso, but that would be messy.  I did try gluing white copy paper over the outside, but it looked ugly.  I wasn’t sure that all of my students were dexterious enough to wrap the books in wrapping paper (using a glue stick and tape), but that was a possibility.

Last week, some of the science classes were having students make rockets out of big plastic bottles.  One of the supplies they used was duct tape.  There are all sorts of colors now, but they can be pricey.  In the future, I may have each student bring a roll and see if they can share. When I finally decided to use duct tape, I went out at 10PM (on a school night) to WalMart to see what they had.

They just had regular duct tape in the packaging department, so I wandered around, looking for other possibilities.  I brought a cart with me and picked up some other stuff as well: a drying rack for my husband, popcorn, hair color – hey, since I was there… I found some electrical tape and bought several packages of mixed colors (white, red, yellow, blue, green), two bigger rolls of black tape, and two rolls of extra silvery duct tape.  Then, I waited half an hour to check out. Oy vey!

I had my students (I have only 1 ESOL/Language Arts class this year) wrap the tape around the covers. The duct tape was the easiest to use – they just wrapped it in strips around the outside and inside of the books.  With the electrical tape, they could use more than one color, but I asked that they NOT cover the inside covers.  We cut out coordinating paper rectangles to cover up the loose edges.  Some of my students wrapped their books in the colors of the Mexican flag.  I still am working out how to put the front cover title on the book.  One student brought scrapbook stickers to decorate hers with.  Anything goes!

Over the past two weeks, I had been having my students write poetry – mostly pattern poetry. I had this copy of a Cambridge University Press instructor’s book called Writing Simple Poems: Pattern Poetry for Language Aquisition by Vicki L. Holmes and Margaret R. Moulton. It is such a handy resource – I had just uncovered it while packing up my room. It has 25 different poems for students to do (acrostic, I am, diamante, cinquain, haiku) and the lessons are geared toward English Language Learners.

The students are typing out their poems and we are going to glue them to the index cards and slip them into the album.  I also would like for them to illustrate their poetry with collage and drawings.  Since the booklets hold 16 index cards, I thought that we would use the first page for a title, then use two-page spreads for the illustration (on the left card) and poems (on the right card). If the poem is particularly long (like the alphabet poem) we can use two cards and decorate around the edges.

Eventually, I would like to see how to work this out in Microsoft Word or Publisher. I would like to make the finished pages print out in 4 x 6 card size with illustrations.  This year, I just had them do 7 or 8 poems. Next year. I will start earlier and have the students do 13-14 poems! I will photograph an example later.

Also, check back for links to poetry lesson plans and templates!

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