Poetry - Made Multimodal! - Digital Literacy Dover

Monday 18 June 2018

Poetry - Made Multimodal!

This incredible, beautiful example inspired me to approach our English teachers to consider making their work with poetry multimodal; showing this to them was a pretty persuasive pitch.

One of the many great things about my job is that I get to work with teachers and students throughout the college, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. One of the fabulous aspects to this is how often the fundamentals that are introduced in the Primary School, are just as effective and just as powerful in the Middle and High Schools.

We have been making a concerted effort to ensure that when we talk about 'digital literacy' we back that with some fundamentals, specifically the expectation that as our students move through the college they move from introduction to consolidation to competence in the five core domains of video, image, text, audio, and data. What follows is one example this year of integrating three of these into students experiences with poetry, by making it multimodal.

Multimodal Poetry

This work began by focusing on our Grade 4 students, nearing the end of a Writing Workshop focus on poetry. Instead of leaving it as a text only celebration, we asked the students to reimagine one of their poems, adding imagery—be it still or moving image. Some students were more literal in their interpretation, others more abstract, but the best skilfully combined both. Then they added the power of sound, choosing music and even sound effects to complement their own narration.

What I find really exciting though, is that as why I was able to take these videos to our Grade 7 teachers, whose students were ending a focus on poetry, only in this case they had been analysing and exploring an anthology of poetry. So we asked them to choose one... and make it multimodal

Grade 4

Grade 7

Whether it was a grade 4 poem the students wrote themselves, or a poem chosen by a Grade 7 student from an anthology, the teachers consistently commented on how powerful and insightful it was to see each students understanding of poetry made visual, made audible; made multimodal


If you're keen to have a go, here's a link to the site page where I collated the resources—I used the same resources with both Primary and Middle School classes. 

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