Poetry: Remixed

After an extremely inspiring and productive discussion with my PLN this morning, I was given the idea of centring an innovative poetry unit around Komninos, the performance poet who now does a lot to do with media poetry. I have to sincerely thank @madiganda, @vivimat78, @shereej3, and a new connection I made this morning, @KatApel, for collaborating with me to form such a great idea for a poetry unit. Yet another reason to LOVE my PLN!

I was aiming to find something innovative and inspiring for my Year 10 class to follow on from what I know would have been a great unit on protest poetry for them as Year 9. I originally wanted to do something similar to Poetry Pals, a program which connects people from different backgrounds though poetry, however, I had left the run too late to start collaboration on such an epic task as that. I will save that idea up for another year, and hopefully be able to encourage students to compose poetry about their experience as ‘country’ kids, and learn from their sister city classmates about life in the city.

After my conversation this morning, however, I have decided to go with something a little more radical, and look at ‘remixed’ poetry, which will allow me to draw my students attention to the way in which our culture is constructed as a remix of the past, popular and high culture, and the modern and traditional. Whilst a post-modern or post-humanism unit is probably beyond the scope of these kids’ interest and ability, this unit will allow me to dip into these things a little bit, and hopefully result in them developing some critical thinking skills akin to those associated with these movements.

The study of radical forms and content matter of poetry will naturally require contextualising, and thus students will be required to view today’s culture through a critical lens: Why would poets choose to be different and radical? What message are they trying to convey through this choice?

I have had many many suggestions for poets and poetry which will be useful. For the time being, I am going to investigate in detail:

Pam Ayres
Free Verse novel extracts (esp. Sally Murphy: Pearl vs the World)
Yellow Rage
and zombie poetry, which I came across a couple of weeks ago, quite by accident!

I am also interested in poetry by cybernetics, and perhaps can source machine generated poetry which I vaguely remember being told about….

If you are interested in this unit or have suggestions, please feel free to contribute them in this space! I will post the unit up on the blog as it progresses.


A great week in the classroom!

Thought I would take the opportunity to rant about what a GREAT couple of days I’ve had in the classroom-maybe it will balance out the negativity of some of my other posts!

Over the last few days I have seen my year 11 class really knuckle down and get serious about poetry analysis. Despite my lame attempt to engage them with a home made AFL ball, the students produced mind maps and analysis paragraphs exploring the Australian Voice this week. They worked in groups to formulate thesis statements to guide their writing, and developed analyses which demonstrated just how far they had come in the last year.

What I was really stoked about was the way in which they have developed synthesis skills-something which is towards the top of Blooms hierarchy. It really challenges the assumption that students in standard English can’t produce sophisticated writing. We also spent a bit of time yesterday reflecting upon their writing style, including what they did well, what they found hard, and some of the ways I can provide more support for their writing. Students went away with a task to set personal goals for their writing, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

My year 9 class this week also wowed me with their creativity and enthusiasm for their group products; they came up with some brilliant ideas to stage a performance of ROMEO AND JULIET for a modern audience, including puppeteering, using shadow, and elaborate set design.

A couple of groups were also working hard to source a real world audience for their performance (sadly I have not heard back from any of the “real world” audience I contacted-clearly don’t hold enough weight in the education sphere!) discussing who they knew that was involved in theatre.

Let’s hope the momentum continues!