Poetry Power: From Emergent to Conventional Writing (Apps Included)
ASHA 2018 - Poster Session
Musselwhite & Wagner
Download PDF here: Dropbox Link
You too can empower students with a wide range of disabilities using poetry to support emergent writing, and to support older students with disabilities in using poetry to support learning writing traits. This approach is based on poetry instruction following the four-phase approach by Lorraine Wilson (Write Me a Poem).
Poetry reading and writing can be highly supportive to:
- Emergent writers, who are practicing using the alphabet
- Students who use AAC, including students with cerebral palsy, autism, and syndromes such as Rett and Angelman.
- Even very short poems can be powerful. This is an important feature for struggling writers, who may have difficulty with output.
- Poems are an excellent medium for expressing the self. They can also be highly cathartic.
- Poetry can assist in generalization of skills learned in the classroom (e.g., summarizing a topic via a shape poem), speech & language therapy (e.g., practicing descriptors) and occupational therapy (e.g., using the alphabet creatively).
- Poetry is an excellent opportunity for peer interaction, creating group poems, and discussing poems created by individuals.
WHAT IS WORDSMITHING?
A “smith” is a craftsman who makes things. Ergo, making something with words can be called “wordsmithing.” We see young children making words they haven’t been taught, even over-applying word-building rules as they figure things out. Think about how a young child might say “eated” until he learns not to apply the +ed rule to every verb. Likewise, children in bilingual homes may apply rules across languages to make up new words. For example, adding “ito” in Spanish means it is a little one, so some bilingual households may hear words like “crackercito.” And people using AAC may substitute or combine words to make a word that sounds right. For example, “soup” may be used as a name (Sue) or a drink may be called mountain + do (Mountain Dew). Poets creatively combine sounds and words, and we can use wordsmithing in poetry form to systematically practice patterns and word combinations.
APPS ADD FUN FACTOR
Motivate students and teachers alike to use repetitions within poems, across types, and during performance/presentation.:
- Core words when writing/drafting; find, copy/share message window from an AAC app with LAMP, Snap + Core First, Compass with PODD, Proloquo2Go
- Categories of words (to add more)
- Poetry types
- Performance with movement: apps to act it out (green screen apps, Explain Everything, Puppet Pals, Kids Doodle)
- Performance with sound: apps to speak recorded Poem (iFunFace, Funny Movie Maker, Morpho, Voice Changer Plus).
- Performance with music: iMovie, Clips, Smule, AutoRap
- Visual display: Word Art, PathOn
PHASES OF POETRY WRITING (Wilson, 1994)
During poetry immersion, teachers can support students in:
- listening to poems, including on-line readings by famous authors/poets (like Jack Prelutsky) or other AAC users (like Sami Kadah)
- reading poems through choral reading or echo reading
- interpreting poems by talking, moving, group presentation, or painting
Sample accommodations for this phase include:
• using communication devices
• using synthesized speech (Natural Reader, iBooks, Siri, Google)
• using gestures and on-screen (animated) playback
This phase allows students to observe accomplished writers write poetry. Modeled writing is of primary importance for this phase. Be sure to show students how to use alternative keyboards and/or communication apps to write their words and make sure they can see the text being produced. This can be accomplished through:
- live, in the moment teacher modeling (important for mini-lessons)
- watching videos (playback of recorded instructional demonstrations, including screen capturing or screen casting apps like Explain Everything)
Students Write Poems
Key factors during drafting include the importance of writing without standards and use of temporary or developmental spelling. Teachers must beware of over-cueing during the drafting phase.
Sample accommodations include:
- Vocabulary/spelling/word choice supports such as message banks with words or images, word prediction or word completion, color-coding
- First Author, Abilipad, category and spelling pages on AAC apps
- Physical access accommodations that zoom in, swipe or scan for more letter choices by group, or can be selected by a mouse, joystick or eye gaze
- Alternative Pencils, SuperKeys, MyGaze by TobiiDynavox
A range of poetry types can be incorporated. Sample poem types include:
- List poems (adjective, noun, verb poems)
- Cinquain or Diamante poems, with focus on parts of speech (building vocabulary & syntax)
- 3 x 3 poems, offering short models of writing (3 words to describe, 3 action words, 3 word sentence). Example at the end of this post is from Sidney. Her first attempt imitated word choices from others and the version pictured below includes personally meaningful choices
- Color Poems, providing prompts that work for very emergent writers through high school students with learning disabilities.
- Poems for 2 Voices: offering an excellent opportunity for compare / contrast (ex: Revolutionary Soldiers / British Soldiers). (See Fleischman’s books and audio versions)
- Shape poems, presenting a summary of a topic of study, such as oceans
- 3 word bio poem (see example below from Katie)
Begin responding in the immersion phase by writing, drawing or acting out poems we hear or read. Rate poems and talk about what makes them interesting. Use parody to create a similar poem with different words.
Remember to encourage drafting without standards so that students take creative risks in their writing. Use mini-lessons to help demonstrate how poems can be revised. An example might be a lesson on over-use of some words with suggestions for other interesting choices. Create visuals to move old words to the cemetery and replace them with words that sparkle.
Both self-evaluation and peer evaluation can be important elements in this phase. One recommended support is the TAG conference sheet (adapted from Rog and Kropp, 2003, The Write Genre):
• Tell something you like
• Ask questions
• Give advice
Sample accommodations during the revision phase include:
• Communication displays
• Question cubes
- Cards to support telling comments, asking questions, and giving advice
Encourage sharing of poetry, even during the draft and revision phases. A range of options for publishing poetry are possible:
- Creating simple chapbooks with paper versions of poems, shared as presents
- Decorating t-shirts, banners, mugs, calendars, etc.
- Visual Poetry - showing word clouds and word paths
- Audio Sharing, including morphing the sounds during playback
- Video Sharing, including read-back using funny moving mouth apps
- Creating electronic storybooks with text and page-turning adaptations (such as Book Creator, Story Creator, Tarheel Reader)
- Adding personalized backdrops or backgrounds (e.g., Puppet Pals, Kid in Story)
Clendon, S., Sturm, J., & Cali, K. (2004). The Vocabularies of Beginning Writers: Implications for Students Who Use AAC. Philadelphia, PA: American Speech- Language- Hearing Association Convention.
Fleischman, P. (1988). Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. ISBN: 9780060218522
Fleischman, P. (1989). I am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. ISBN-10: 006446092; ISBN 978-1-883332-70-9
Hopkins, L. (1998). Pass the Poetry, Please! New York: HarperCollins. ISBN: 0-06-446199-8
Kadah, S. (n.d.). Thoughts From A Room Without Doors. http://samikadah.weebly.com/
Koch, K. (1970). Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching children to write poetry. New York: Harper Perrenial. ISBN: 0-06-095509-0.
Musselwhite, C. & Hanser, G. (2003). Write to Talk: Talk to Write, 2nd Edition. AAC Intervention, 916 West Castillo Drive, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340. www.aacintervention.com
Musselwhite, C. & Hanser, G. (2006). Write to Talk Suite CD. AAC Intervention, 916 West Castillo Drive, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340. www.aacintervention.com
Musselwhite, C. & Wagner, D. (2006). Poetry Power: Jump-Starting Language, Literacy, and Life (A Make-It / Take It Book of Ideas and Adaptations). www.aacintervention.com
Musselwhite, C & Wagner, D. (2006). Poetry Power Suite CD. Available for purchase from www.aacintervention.com
Prelutsky, J. Multiple titles available from Amazon, including New Kid on the Block, which can also be purchased as an iPad app by Wanderful Storybooks. Check out Jack’s website for writing prompts (http://jackprelutsky.com/online-writing-activities/
Rog & Kropp (2003). The Write Genre. Stenhouse Publishers, ISBN: 978-155138-172-5
Williams, M. & Krezman, C. (2000). Beneath the Surface: Creative Expressions of Augmented Communicators. (also available in CD format). www.isaac-online.org