I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
It's been awhile since I used George Ella Lyon's beautiful poem, "Where I'm From", as a mentor text for my students. My 6th graders are poetry fans, so I decided to pull it out again and share it with them. To refresh my lesson ideas, I went to her website (click links above) and took a look at the background story of the poem and the poem itself. I loved the videos she had included and decided that's how I would update the lesson, so I renewed my 6th graders' Animoto educational accounts. I really enjoyed the final products. I had some parents tell me at conferences last week that the videos made them teary-eyed. That's the power of a poem!
First, I made one myself so I could show the kids what the poem looked like in text and in video. We talked about the "Where I'm From" template (there are templates available online), but I stressed that Lyon's poem and the template are guides - they didn't have to follow the pattern exactly. We also talked about tone/mood, the music that would accompany the videos, and the themes they chose. Mine was nostalgic, but theirs could be funny, lighthearted, or any other tone they wanted. Here are a few of the results:
This was a great project for the beginning of the year, but it would also make a good one for a memoir unit later.