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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Poems for 2 Voices

 WHAT:  Poems for 2 voices are meant to be read aloud.  Or listened to.  Or performed.  Paul Fleischman made this genre popular, with his book / audio version of I Am Phoenix.  

WHY:  Two voice poems are wonderful for supporting students in learning to compare and contrast.   Students can:
• Pick two characters from a book, two objects that have some features in common and some different, etc.

WHO:  These poems are fantastic for:
Students who are exploring their AAC systems.  

 HOW:  Show students samples of poems for 2 voices.  Discuss them.  Create a collaborative two voice poem.  

For example, we were studying Oceania, focusing on Samoa and American Samoa.  One topic of study was Polynesian tattoos.  We watched several videos, and looked at tattoo images.

Then we looked at several poems for 2 voices, including the one shown below.  It was the first 'deep' poem written by a 7th grade student who was an early conventional student in a self-contained classroom.  She had worked hard to brainstorm 'spark'e words' that could help her compare and contrast concepts about tattoos.  She was especially excited when she came up with the word 'sick' which represents 'extremely cool' and 'might make you sick.' We discussed this with the students.  

Next we brainstormed a list of words that our students wanted to use regarding Polynesian tattoos.  

Finally, they decided whether the words / phrases should go into the positive column (green), the negative column (orange), or represented both (pink).

Notes about a few word choices:
• Some choices , such as the positive expressions (legit / cool) and the negative observations (nasty / bloodiest) are very clear.  Others might be more obscure without background information
• ''thrown on expressively' - They had talked about the spiritual elements behind the tattoos
• 'tired' – one video of a Samoan wrestler talked about how long it too (17 hours) for one tattoo session, broken into two days
• 'feel' represented the spiritual aspect (evokes feelings in the person and those who view them) and the physical component (feels painful).


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