Thursday, May 3, 2018

Cameron 5/2

After taking a week off for TN Ready, the RAPS team was ready to dive back into it. This week at Cameron in RAPS, we continued reading more of Kwame Alexander’s novel Booked. Today was our last session before our students will have the opportunity to engage and listen to the amazing author, speaker, and poet. Thus, we wanted to give our kids as much time to continue interacting with and discussing the text.
            One of the things that Alexander weaves into this particular text is a sample of Blackout poetry. Blackout poetry is when you use a text that is already written to write a poem. The student looks for words that he/ she would like to keep and underlines them. Then, he she removes the rest of the words that are not underlined by “blacking them out” with a marker. You are left with a Blackout poem.
            The students used the Blackout poem in Booked as a mentor text to create their own. The students were able to choose from a variety of texts to get started. Some students chose to use passages from Skeleton Creek, a book we read last semester, while others started with poems in other languages, such as Spanish and Arabic, to begin their blackout process.
The poem below was originally titled “Tardes” and was transformed into a blackout poem and renamed “My Life.” The text highlighted in light blue are the words that make up this student’s poem. This student also chose to use a design to help convey his/ her message.

The poem below was originally a passage from Skeleton Creek. This student chose to blackout what they did not want using a blue marker. The text left alone are the words that make up his/ her poem.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Litton Middle School 4/27/18

In about a week, RAPS students will be listening and engaging with the amazing Young Adult author/speaker/poet/performer Kwame Alexander!

Litton RAPS students continued to work with their Kwame Alexander texts to create micographic representations of the works. Today, students traced out their image and some began writing their lines in colorful fine-pointed markers. The end results will be tiny (or big, for added emphasis) words that make up the larger picture.

We are so excited for Kwame Alexander's visit. One of our Litton RAPS students, Destin, has read every Kwame Alexander book. He even has read the newest release, Rebound. We have several students who are new to Kwame and have already gotten hooked on their new books.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Litton Middle School 4/20/18

The past two weeks at Litton Middle School have been full of Kwame Alexander...we are getting so excited for his visit and doing all that we can do to engage with his books. Several students enjoyed doing a read-aloud of the text. Poems are meant to be read aloud, and the students get really into the roles and rhythms! Leading up to the author visit at Vanderbilt, we are reading as much as we can. We also are starting Kwame Alexander micography art projects. Students choose a symbol that is important to the text and lines from the text to create the image with words. This week, students chose their symbols (guitars, music notes, hearts, the infamous silhouettes from the covers soccer and basketballs) and started to find the best lines from the books to support their vision. Next week, they will actually begin to draw and write their final product. We can't wait to see how these turn out! Also...big shout out to Ms. Crandall who was named Isaac Litton Middle School's Teacher of the Year! She is inspiring to work with!

Madilyn created an artistic mask inspired by the character"Haymitch" from The Hunger Games.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cameron 4/18

We had a great penultimate week at Cameron! In preparation for Kwame Alexander's visit, we kept on reading Booked. Though we had to read at an accelerated pace, due to our short time together, the students demonstrated remarkable skills in identifying plot, characterization, and the different ways that Alexander uses his poems to create tone! The content spoke to many of our students, and they loved having the chance to take the book home and read on their own time.

We also had a chance to work with the fifth and sixth graders on an important topic, as they enter junior high. As cyberbullying affects numerous students across the country, Cameron thought it appropriate to utilize class time to teach students skills for dealing with bullying, as well as affirm their commitment to helping in any situation. It was powerful to see students engage with this issue, and we think it was cool that they got to see us in a regular setting, where we can use our lived experience to become mentors.

Next week, Cameron undergoes standardized testing, so we will not be in the building. However, we will be back for one last week, before Kwame Alexander visits on the 7th!