Process or Product? What is our focus in digital literacy? I wrote about this in regards to poetry on Friday. My students had me thinking about process this week. The value of the process.
With inspiration from Laura Purdie Salas, I introduced the idea of a found poem from Wonderopolis to a small group of students. I modeled the process for them: Select a Wonder, copy and paste the text into a Word document, and use the strike-through tool to black out text. The idea was to find a poem within the text.
What I thought would be a one day activity covered almost three days. I was not satisfied with the products. They had done the assignment, but the poems weren’t really poems.
I decided we would work on revision together. I put the draft on the Promethean Board. We tabbed to the Wonderopolis article to have the reference to go back to. At first I was doing all the work, making suggestions for cuts, asking if there were more ideas that should be included. However, by the time we got to the third poem to revise, my students talked like experts.
“This line is too long. Should we make a line break?”
“This is a repeated word. Can we cut it out?”
“I like the way this word sounds. Let’s keep it.”
My students felt a sense of ownership as each of their poems were projected and revised. I continually checked in with them. “Is this OK with you?”
This was work. In fact, one of my students said that very thing. I responded, “Yes, but it’s good work. Aren’t you happy with your poem now?”
Who knew that found poems could be so tough. My dissatisfaction with the product led to a much deeper thinking process. My students not only had to gather information; they had to synthesize and evaluate it.
I wish now that I had saved the first drafts to show you the before and after. All I have to share is the after.
Giraffes have tongues
as long as their necks?
If you liked to eat leaves like giraffes do,
Then you would understand.
Acacia’s tasty leaves have very sharp thorns.
While reaching the highest treat,
the giraffe’s tongue
protects itself from being cut.
If a giraffe’s tongue does get cut,
it will heal very quickly.
–Noah, 4th grade
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