Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reader.Writer.Scholar: Reflections for #WalkMyWorld

Is poetry still relevant in a time when educators prepare students for high-stakes testing in school while students read and write on cell phones, iPads, and laptops out of school? I asked this question during my first semester in graduate school and used the findings to write a blog post for the International Reading Association’s TILE-SIG blog. As I reflect on my experience with the #WalkMyWorld project, I realize I was replicating my first study. Instead of examining the effects multimodal composition had on 5th grade students’ engagement with poetry, I was examining the effects multimodal composition had on ME. Here are my findings.

READER: My engagement in #WalkMyWorld began as a reader. As I scrolled through the Twitter feed, I selected poems by the media that provoked curiosity. I was amazed at the quality of poetry and found myself rereading poems with a critical eye to determine how the author crafted the text or used multiple modes to evoke emotion. In order to improve my ability to write, I used the author rather than the media as the criteria for selecting which poem to read. Eventually, I moved away from my night time routine of reading facebook posts to reading Twitter #WalkMyWorld posts.

WRITER: My engagement as a writer evolved from isolated poems to recursively generating a poem throughout the day. Initially, I took a picture, wrote a poem, posted it to #WalkMyWorld, and then crossed the task off my “to do list.” Now, a word might spark the need to take a picture or a picture might dictate the words. As my involvement in the project increases, I notice a greater sensitivity to the natural world and language that surrounds me. I learned the importance of taking a picture the instant nature sparks my attention. Thinking about my audience motivates me to go back and retake a picture in order to adjust the quality. In the beginning, I generated poems by selecting words from my own schema. Now I collect words and phrases throughout the day by typing them into the notes section in my cell phone. This recursive shift continues to improve the quality of my writing and enjoyment in the composition process.

SCHOLAR: My engagement as a scholar integrated my theoretical understanding of multimodal composition and my passion for poetry. The #WalkMyWorld community held me accountable for increasing my creativity. At the same time, #WalkMyWorld collaboration gave me support as I tried new techniques and technologies. For example, @dogtrax interactive poem inspired me to write an interactive poem about the sunrise. Even though Twine was easy to use as a multimodal composition tool, I struggled to embed the poem on the Internet. I used Twitter to contact @dogtrax for help and we spent several days collaboratively working to solve my technical issues. I also used Twitter to invite the #WalkMyWorld community to write a poem on Goggle Drive. This way I was still involved in the learning event but I shared the responsibility to write a full poem. I was so excited to see how the poem grew and changed as different authors added their voice.  Click HERE if you want to read or write more into the poem.

By breaking down barriers of creating, collaborating, and sharing multimodal poetry the #WalkMyWorld project aligned theory, research, and social media. Today is your chance to make poetry relevant by joining the #WalkMyWorld project. Share your thoughts on how the project enriched your experiences as a reader, writer, and scholar.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Exploring my Poetry Genius #walkmyworld

For me, poetry has always served as an emotional container (Fletcher, 2002). Whenever I feel angry, depressed, or frustrated, I pick up a pen and attack the paper until my emotions are spent. After #walkmyworld introduced me to PoetryGenius, a free website that allows readers to annotate and share poetry, I was excited to remix Growing Old, a poem I wrote during my walk in college. I invite you to add your own memories or images during your childhood walk by clicking HERE.

Growing Old

When I was just a little girl
No taller than a knee,
I couldn’t wait to grow up
To see whom I could be.

When I was in middle school
With braces and short hair,
I couldn’t wait to grow up
To marry the one I care.

When graduation came and went
I remember what I said,
“I couldn’t wait to grow up
To explore the world ahead.”

Here I am, in college now
A so-called “young adult.”
I CAN wait to grow up,
‘cuz it’s harder than I thought.

In addition to introducing me to different online multimodal composition tools, #walkmyworld has challenged me to shift from introspection to viewing the natural world that surrounds me. As I explored this new topic, I was surprised to find that words came quickly, however, I struggled with how to present the poem.  I purposefully chose generic language that could attend to a duel environment of sea or snow. This way, one reader might create mental images while walking on the beach and another reader might create mental images of a snow-covered landscape.

After reading Kevin Hodgson’s (aka @dogtrax) interactive text, I knew I found the perfect way to present my Robert Hass inspired poem, Sunrise Serenity.  You can read it below or join in the fun by clicking HERE to have an interactive experience or clicking HERE to annotate.

Sunrise Serenity

This is an interactive poem that allows you, the reader, to choose how you want to experience the serenity that surrounds a sunrise. If you want to take a walk on a snow-covered landscape, bundle up with your balky coat, scratchy scarf, and read SNOW. If you want to take a walk on a sandy-covered landscape, layer on the lotion, slide on the sunglasses and read SAND.

Cool, crisp breeze takes my breath away

I sit among dull crystals
Both of us anticipating, needing, wanting the spark of fire

Silent and tranquil, like a sleepy child,
Slowly opening an eyelid to peek at the new day

The sun, with arms opening wide across the endless horizon,
Awakens the light we withhold from the night.

Blowing, spraying waves of white rolling across the ground

I sit transfixed
As the serenity of a sunrise surrounds me and renews my soul.

Warm, wet breeze makes it hard to breathe

I sit among dull crystals
Both of us anticipating, needing, wanting the spark of fire

Silent and tranquil, like a sleepy child,
Slowly opening an eyelid to peek at the new day

The sun, with arms opening wide across the endless horizon,
Awakens the light we withhold from the night.

Blowing, spraying waves of white crashing across the shore

I sit transfixed
As the serenity of a sunrise surrounds me and renews my soul.

I invite you do join the #walkmyworld project!  Whether you are a teacher looking to provide relevant multimodal tools that inspire your students to write, or you love poetry, #walkmyworld has something to offer everyone. See you on poetrygenius!

Fletcher, R. (2002) Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dialogic Reflection to #walkmyworld week 5

Reflection to learning event 5 for #walkmyworld project:

When I began my walk, I started an inner dialogue about my connection to the world. I debated over my connection as a mother, researcher, and woman.  However, my connection to the world as a MOTHER was stronger and received the first post:
Legs burning, heart racing, must deny the ball!

We had a full day basketball tournament and I had a goal to create a Vine or Animoto video to document my walk during the day. Time constraints and access to strong Internet connections provided obstacles to the project, so I settled with a picture and a poem about how my daughter felt while playing defense.

Next, I began an exterior dialogue with other researchers. This online dialogue provided multifaceted views of digital texts and poetry. The discussion motivated me to think deeper about my interest in understanding the multimodal composition process. I learned new tools (PoetryGenius) for annotating poetry collaboratively and began making plans to examine the effects multimodal composition can have on student learning and engagement with poetry.
Hey Hass, we can't b blind or disconnected to nature today!

Finally, Greg McVerry's blog post challenged me to have a reflective dialogue about how my walks demonstrated a connection or isolation to the natural world.  My dialogue style shifted to bold shouts in my final post:

This reflection made me realize I shift between mother, researcher, and woman on my daily walks with the natural world. I learned a valuable lesson:  maybe the key to happiness is staying connected to the world that surrounds us in the moment, whether that's our family, our work, or mother nature.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Things: #walkmyworld

I just learned about #walkmyworld project, exploring the use of digital texts and tools as a means to connect, collaborate, and share. I have learned so many new ideas and tools to use in my classroom that I had to share the project with you. Even though this is week 5 in a 10 week series, you are all invited to join in the fun. You can do it by yourself, do it with your students, or just watch and learn.

Here are some suggestions:
1. If you want to learn about the project, check out this blog post by Ian O'Byrne: 
2. If you want to watch what people are doing, follow the Twitter feed for #walkmyworld
3. If you want to play with new tools:
Learn how to make a kinetic poem-
Collaborate on PoetryGenius -
Add your thoughts, vidoes, or pictures to week 5 poem:

Let me know what you think about #walkmyworld.