Spotlight on Grant Snider: Poetry Comic Posters

I wish I had a ton of money so I could buy up every poster about writing that artist Grant Snider creates. Alas, I am a teacher, not a banker. But I urge you to go to his site – Incidental Comics — and get inspired by his visual insights into writing and creativity. His work is wonderful. I’ve ordered two of this posters for my classroom.

Here are some of his posters about poetry which you can purchase in his Poster Shop. (Just so you know, I don’t know Grant. I have his feed in my RSS and just love his work.)

(read more of this comic)

Peace (in the poetry),

Wonder Poem: Itaipu Dam

Today’s Wonder of the World poem prompt is about the Itaipu Dam in South America. I can’t say that I knew much about it, so thanks to Mary Lee for putting it on her list of wonders.

I was imagining the sheer volume of water flowing over the structure as I read about the dam– just a mad rush of flow and a $20 billion controversy in a part of the world where so many people struggle — and so I wrote a poem that I then converted into ASCII code, as if my words were something different, in this case — numbers and code, moving over the edge of this space.

068 097 109 110 046 013 010 073 116 039 115 032 098 105 103 046 013 010 066 111 108 100 044 032 101 118 101 110 046 013 010 065 032 110 101 116 032 111 102 032 101 110 101 114 103 121 013 010 119 104 111 115 101 032 115 111 117 110 100 116 114 097 099 107 013 010 099 097 110 032 098 101 032 104 101 097 114 100 013 010 109 097 110 121 032 109 105 108 101 115 032 097 119 097 121 044 013 010 097 032 115 111 117 110 100 105 110 103 032 115 116 111 110 101 013 010 111 102 032 114 097 119 032 102 108 111 119 046 013 010 072 111 119 032 109 097 110 121 032 109 111 117 116 104 115 013 010 099 111 117 108 100 032 104 097 118 101 032 098 101 101 110 032 102 101 100 013 010 102 111 114 032 116 104 101 032 099 111 115 116 032 111 102 013 010 116 104 105 115 032 101 110 103 105 110 101 101 114 105 110 103 032 102 101 097 116 063 013 010 068 097 109 110 046

Wondering about the poem? You can go into the ASCII/Text converter and convert it back.  Just copy and paste my poem above into the converter. Or you can cheat and go to this link.

Peace (in the flow),

DigiLit Sunday: Poetry Genius

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Each Sunday, a bunch of teachers (thanks to Margaret) are sharing out various technology tools that might have value around reading and writing. This week,  I thought I would showcase a site called Poetry Genius. It’s part of a collection of annotation tools that include ones around song lyrics. What I like about Poetry Genius is the ability to layer in other media, and if enough folks are adding annotations (which we did during the #walkmyworld project), it starts a conversation about lines and phrases and stanzas.

One of my #walkmyworld poems was this one: Trading Fours on a Saturday Night.

You can embed the projects in other sites:

They have an Educator Genius account for classroom teachers, but the age of students have to be at least 13 years old (although the way around that could be do a classroom collaborative annotation on a whiteboard)

Peace (in the annotations),


Empires Rise and Fall

I’m not sure if today’s theme is really the Empire State Building or not, for our Wonders of the World poems (I think it is), but I started to think about the word “empire” and then that led me to “family.”

I took my poem — Empires Rise and Fall — and went into Poetry Genius, a site that allows you to annotate poems with text, links, images, and video. You will notice that I put the podcast of the poem into the site, too.

Feel free to add your own annotations to the poem — confront me on my views of memory and feel free to challenge me on the truth of my own family story. Or add your own poem by lifting lines from mine.

Peace (in memory),

Webcomic: The Dangerous Lives of Poets

This morning, the Wonder Poem (posted by Mary Lee) is about the CN Tower in Toronto. I wrote a poem and then thought I would jazz it up a bit with some humor as webcomic. So, I did. I was struck by the use of colors for events through the year and how it seemed to me to be like a flower without petals.

The Dangerous Life of Poets (CT Tower)

Peace (in the high places),

Intentionally Imbalanced Infographic: NextGen Testing

Intentional imbalanced Infographic
The PARCC test has been on my mind a lot lately, due to its piloting all over the world (or so it seems, even though I know it is only in PARCC states). More and more news items are coming into my RSS feed of parents opting out, of teaching refusing to give it, of superintendents telling families how much they don’t like it already, of parents at a school in my city picketing PARCC with signs and everything, of criticism that our state Educational Commissioner has a role in the PARCC consortium, of talking to teachers at my school (and parents of kids) who administered the PARCC pilot (although they are not allowed to talk about the test), and more, more, more.

A very powerful piece ran in the New York Times opinion section by Elizabeth Phillips that is a must-read: We Need to Talk About the Tests.

And I saw from Diane Ravitch that Pearson, who is developing the PARCC, is searching for scorers, but they are targeting college students and paying only $12 an hour. These are the scores that are going to be used for teacher evaluations someday down the road? for student graduation requirements?  Ack. for revising the PARCC? (cue fake laughter on that one).

It’s hard to keep an open mind with all that floating around. So, I went and decided to make a completely unreliable infographic of what I believe will be the end result of PARCC, which is that the testing companies will make out like bandits in the end. ‘Cause they will.

Read Valerie Strauss’ piece at The Washington Post: March Madness.

Meanwhile, with the federal test-creating grants running out later this year, the future of the two consortia is not clear. But for now, they’ve got a pretty good deal: They get millions of field testing subjects — for free.

I know I’m being grumpy and pessimistic here, but it’s hard to see things unfolding in a positive light right now around the Common Core testing systems underway, and if any of my sons were in classes where Pearson is piloting the PARCC, I would probably have them opt out. (Hey, Pearson gets free data from our kids, doesn’t have to share any of the results with anyone? That’s a coup. Maybe they should donate a cart of laptops to every school that has piloted the PARCC.)


Peace (in the test),

The Poet in Me

I saw some friends writing “in defense of poetry” poems (there must be a meme that slipped my view or something, or maybe defending poetry is something that we realize we have to do more visibly) and I started to write one, too, but then realized I was writing about me, working to be a poet.

Poet in Me Poem

Peace (in the flow),