Category Archives: Writing

More Amanda Gorman Resources

I was curating so many lesson resources for learning about Amanda Gorman, our National Youth Poet Laureate, that I decided to make a Wakelet collection for them. You can find it here. Many of them came from this post by Mia Young (@WestsidehsTeach) in the Distance Learning Educators Facebook Group. (This group is super helpful!) There are links to books you can pre-order, lesson plans, and some interactive digital files you can copy. I’m slowly rolling out more public Wakelets, so if you want to see all of the ones I’ve created so far, you can click here.

Image by Idearriba from Pixabay

Brave New Voices

When we see young people like Amanda Gorman on the world stage, we are astonished by what she has to say and the way that she says it. But the truth is, there are so many people her age and younger around the globe to whom we should be paying more attention.

For this week’s anti-racist post, I would like to introduce you to two more young ladies who understand what is really important. Unfortunately, I don’t have their names. I found them through the Teach Living Poets site. This website was founded by Melissa Smith (@MelAlterSmith), and is a wonderful spot to discover contemporary poetry by diverse authors. Smith, along with Scott Bayer (@LyricalSwordz) also created this interactive Google Slides digital library of living poets. Help your students to find poets who look like them and write about topics relevant to them by recommending and celebrating some of the authors on this website.

I will be adding this post to my list of Anti-Racism posts on Wakelet. Please consider sharing it with others, especially those who have the power to make a difference in the classroom. 

Blackout Poetry Maker

For those of you inspired by Amanda Gorman to make some poetry of your own, here is an online Blackout Poetry Maker that makes it easy. Though that surely is not Gorman’s method for writing her verses, blackout poetry is one of many “gateways” into this medium that students enjoy. For some other methods, here is a link to one of my old posts with more ideas. Be ready for National Poetry Month in April by writing your first drafts now!

(Can you guess what famous speech I used to create the poem below?)

The Moth Story Map

One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is, “The Moth Radio Hour.” It is a weekly compilation of autobiographical stories told by brave souls to live audiences. Last April I wrote about the Moth’s “Storytelling School.” All together, there are 32 lessons. Here is a link to their final one for 2020.

For the new year, the Education team at the Moth has put together a Story Map to help students create their own relatable tales from their lives. To help teachers demonstrate the pieces of the Story Map, there is a video of a student, Dante Jackson, telling the audience at his high school about, “The Prom” he attended in eighth grade. It’s endearing and funny, ticking all of the boxes in the 5 step Story Map.

In addition to the Story Map tools, there are invitations for students in the NYC area to participate in a virtual workshop, and for teachers of 5th-12 grades to attend a virtual Spring Institute. See the Story Map link for more information.

Writing for Change Challenge

Adobe for Education and Wakelet are co-sponsoring a “Writing for Change Challenge” that runs from November 2nd through December 4th. To participate, teachers will guide students to develop responses in Adobe Spark to any of the ten challenges that are based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The challenges include questions such as, “Should we have to wear bicycle helmets?” and, “Should homework be replaced by acts of kindness?” When the student products are ready, the teachers share their work through Wakelet links to publish them. (Videos that describe the process for writing and publishing are available on the home page for the challenge.)

I’ve embedded a video overview of the challenge below (or you can see it here.)

From what I could find, there are no age limits for the challenge. There are also no financial awards. Certificates and badges will be awarded, and there is potential to have your school admitted to the “Wakelet Writing Guild,” where student work will be showcased worldwide.

For more ideas on teaching with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, see this post on The Unit Planning Game or this one on ALA Art Drop Day.

Image by Tanapat Pootthanon from Pixabay

Halloween Music Playlist from Disney

I vividly recall taking out the record album for Disney’s Haunted Mansion and playing it repeatedly for the whole month of October when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I’m guessing that record got thrown away long ago when I moved away from home. So, when I went to the link Disney recently shared for its Halloween music playlist, I was excited to see a track from the Haunted Mansion album, “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” The first five notes brought me back to chilly autumn nights spent imagining the amazing costume I would wear for trick-or-treating that year (conveniently forgetting each year that it was always so cold in New Jersey that I might as well just wear pajamas under my winter coat).

This playlist is available on 11 different music platforms, including YouTube. It includes classic and contemporary songs. There’s a wide variety to appeal to different age groups, and some are less spooky than others.

What can you use this for?

  • Wait time while students are joining class
  • Background music while students are doing independent work
  • Cues for different actions
  • Writing prompts
  • Connecting songs to literature or history
  • Changing the lyrics to fit a different context (My students used to do this with the song, “Superman” by Five for Fighting when we read Tuck Everlasting, and it was powerful!)

I’m sure you can come up with even more ideas!

Image by Peter H from Pixabay