FOUND POETRY…an exercise in creating original content with technology

So we’re studying William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and I wanted to celebrate Poetry Appreciation month.  In order to practise the techniques and refine students’ work, I had them practice by first working in groups.  Then we would all provide feedback on their group Found poems so they could improve for their own poems later.

For the final Found Poem done individually, I always provide a choice: they could complete their project using technology OR they could do it by hand (artwork…think acrylics on canvas, sculpture, creative dance, original composition etc.)  I’ll post some of the original Artwork later in another post for you to look at…we have some very talented learners at UHS!  When a student chooses Artwork for an English project, I always request a written component to explain what they did, how they made it and what they learned.

For this post though, I’ll just be showing you how you can have students create original work with technology in an English classroom.  No one likes a “cut and paste” project.  So I thought, well, let ’em copy and paste the poetry part (I had a handout with guidelines on how to write their Found Poem) but interpreting it for presentation was to be creative or innovative. So I’ll be showing you just the videos for this post.

This group’s poem was posted on a student’s blog (one student was required to “host” the group poem) and here is the link to the written poem.

This group made a video and embedded it on a post in the host student’s creative writing blog.  I love how this group each contributed with their specific talents.  It was an excellent dramatic reading accompanied by artwork done digitally with drawing apps on their iPads and other personal devices.

What’s great is that students were able to incorporate whatever programs, apps or techniques they wanted.  Some made their art by hand and then snapped pictures of the art with their smartphones.  Then they made movies out of them and added their narration using whatever applications they had on their devices.

Students could also present live.  So, unfortunately, you can’t see those but they were awesome too.  They had to present their poem visually and aurally and this sure beats reading a bunch of typed up poems where the learners all centre-justified all their lines and used the same title:  Found Poem…

here me you guys?

This enterprising group employed Flash.  The host blog’s student had taken a course last summer in Flash and wanted to use it.  So he did.  It was neat and we all enjoyed watching the animation.  If you have an iPad, you won’t be able to see it because of the Flash, but maybe if you get the Photon Browser, you could 🙂

This group’s host blogger is a photographer and she makes it a point in her comments section that all the images are hers! fantastic.  In my guidelines, I had specifically requested that all content including music, images or art were to be generated by the members of the group.  No snagging pics from googling.  No snagging music from their iPod.  Music had to be generated by a member and had to be original.  One of the groups who performed live, held one of my district iPad Minis and strummed the “guitar” in Garage Band while another group member narrated the poem.  Very cool.  It suited the mood too.

Listen to this poem’s background music as you read the lines in the Youtube video.  I enjoyed how they played with the Fonts and colours making it a sort of Concrete Poem too.

All-in-all I am very happy with the amazing Found Poems that the groups created.  Sure, I was a stickler for making them follow certain guidelines, but I think creativity and originality blooms when one is restricted!


About Cakebrain

A Vancouver English teacher preoccupied with cake... Reflecting about my learning as an educator. I am currently teaching English part time and also working part time at the Vancouver Board of Education as a Learning Technologies Mentor. This blog also contains an archive of my Concept Papers and Inquiry and Coaching Reflections (ICR) from my grad studies program at VIU (CIEL) You can follow my food and edu-tweets @Cakebrain My Class Wiki: My food blog is
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