|Visit Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life!|
Find a second helping by searching #slice2013 on Twitter!
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, and Elisabeth for all the work you're doing!
We also worked the schedule. We talked about contacting poets to join us. Last month Kwame Alexander said yes, but a scheduling conflict derailed him, so he didn't get to hangout. Students also want to connect with local poets, some who go to schools who compete in our spring slam. Creating those connections takes time and relationship, but I am encouraged that students want to, ask to and are looking to connect outside of school. We have a lot on our poetry wish list and a lot to practice before slam season. But you know what ? It's worth it. I could power a small city with the electricity students generate when they stand up and perform their own work. It is energizing, emotional, and powerful writing work they do.
Last month we used Skype and Google Hangout simultaneously to connect because one of the participating groups could only use Skype. There was a little fumbling on my end trying to set up laptops--one of which crashed before it booted, but we had back up devices waiting just in case. We ended up Skyping with youth poets from a military academy in St. Petersburg, Florida on an iPad and "hanging out" with Cindy Minnich and her youth poets from Pennsylvania from a laptop station. We made it work, no excuses or apologies. My student poets cared less about the technology. They wanted to hear other students perform and they wanted to perform too. Poetry craves audience.
As with most learning, things start out messy. We were figuring out how to "pass the microphone" how to shift screens (Skype to Hangout, to Skype), how to maintain the wifi and really tune it to listen as poets from elsewhere took the mic. Then there I was accidently broadcasting live minute after minute of precious on-air time of me on camera fiddling with settings to connect or reconnect. Nerdfighters would certainly punish me for that one.
|Next week there will be much less of me and more poetry!|
A friend who watch the video as aired encouraged me. She said it's amazing to see a teacher learning, doing--right there, live--she could see the edge of the curve as I skated it --she was being nice, but I am learning and I ams all in, committed to giving the youth poets air time and an audience. They loved it, they didn't mind that we had a bit of set up. They didn't mind that I broadcast the raw footage. Even they know that the process will get smoother with practice; I do too, but I'm glad they see me learning in front of them. I glad they see that reaching out takes all kinds of work.
|Junior, Cherry is experimenting with spoken word and song--she has an amazing voice.|
Poetry Club decided to make the virtual open mic a monthly event. We need inspiration and we need practice. Audiences give us both, virtual or in person. We're aiming for third Tuesdays from 2:30 -3:30 p.m. (EST). I would love for you to join us.
Next week will be open mic session number two. I am hoping that you know someone who might know someone who might know a teenager who writes poetry and would be inspired by or needs an audience. It is as easy as answering a "call" on your computer or device. If you are unsure about the technology, I'd be happy to do a trial call and we could talk through it.
We need poetry and the community that forms around it when we have the courage to stand up and speak. We learn so much when we share our work with others. Last month, we talked about being off of the page--memorizing our pieces-- so that we could make virtual eye contact. We talked about presence on camera and how it is different from having or feeling a poet's presence on stage. We talked about pacing and pitch and projecting--all lessons these youth poets need to get ready for our the spring Poetry Slam stage. Won't you join us? We want to listen to your poetry. We want to hear what you have to share.
|Senior, Juan was the first to take the mic from our team last month.|
If you are a poet or poetry coach or a poetry club sponsor or a teacher with a group of poetry-minded students that would like to share the microphone next Tuesday, reach out in the comments or email me at spillarke[at]gmail[dot]com. You could also add your information to this spreadsheet; dates are tabbed across the bottom if you'd like to plan ahead. I'll use your email to send you details and to invite you to the hangout on Tuesday.
Hope to "see" you next week!
Holbrook, Sara and Michael Salinger. Outspoken: How to Improve Writing and Speaking Skills Through Poetry Performance. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2006.