I really enjoy poetry but it can be a tough sell to teenage boys – especially to my grade ten academic class. In order to make my poetry unit a bit more interactive and hands on, (yes, pun intended…) we have been using the iPads often. What has been pleasantly surprising is that even the ones who claim they don’t like poetry are actively engaged with the iPads.
My introductory lesson had the following iPad based activities:
1. I asked the students to find an image on the web that represents their opinion of poetry. They then posted their image in Edmodo and commented on each other’s photos. They had great fun with this task and the image choice was really interesting to watch. Some of them were quite humorous, but each student was able to provide rationale for his or her choice.
2. The students then looked up definitions of poetry on the web and created a word cloud using at least five different definitions of poetry. The students took a screen shot of their cloud and displayed it on their iPads. From there, the students walked around and looked at each other’s clouds to observe commonalities. We then discussed their findings in an Edmodo chat. The discussion was great as they demonstrated higher level thinking skills when considering the words that seemed to be common amongst all the word clouds. The other highlight was that I heard from all students; not just the ones who always answer questions in an oral discussion.
My take away from this lesson: they are students who are constantly wired and activities like these engage them where it counts – their reality. They live and breathe by their smart phones and allowing them to communicate and learn in a way that mimics their reality (photos, online chatting, and hands-on activities) seems to provide a deeper level of engagement that previously wasn’t present for all the students in our class.
At this point, I’m not sure who is learning more- the students or me.