Write Out Tonight: A Conversation About Poems, Place and Parks

I was fortunate to be one of the facilitators of a deep, rich conversation about the intersections of poetry, prose and place as my Write Out colleague, Willeena Booker, and I guided a recorded conversation with the team at the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument.

The park has forged interesting partnerships with regional poets, including the Alabama State Poet Laureate, to explore, interrogate and celebrate Birmingham’s history and the park has also just released a fascinating reading guide to The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963, a novel by Christopher Paul Curtis.

That conversation is being aired tonight for the first time, through the National Writing Project’s YouTube channel, and we hope to engage in a YouTube chat as the session airs for Write Out.

Please join us!

Intersections Of Poetry, Prose, and Place: A Visit with Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
October 10, 2023, 7p ET/4p PT

Write Out welcomes a poet-Ranger team of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument including Alabama State Poet Laureate Ashley Jones, Magic City Festival Earth Poet Nabila Lovelace, and Park Ranger Kat Gardiner. They will share their work with youth and other community members exploring the intersections of poetry, prose and place.

Peace (and Parks),

Window Poem For Write Out

Bird and Berries

The Write Out project (Poetry, Prose and Parks!) kicks off today, and the Daily Create will be featuring creative prompts for the next two weeks (Thanks, Sarah) in connection to Write Out. This morning, it was a Window Poem, and our Mountain Ash trees have been very busy places these days.

I’ve been doing Word Art poems lately, so I might keep tinkering with the visual elements as I write for Write Out this year.

Peace (Fluttering),

Magic School AI: Using AI To Resist AI

AI Resistance

A colleague, knowing I am interested in the emergence of Generative AI and its impact on teaching and learning, pointed me to MagicSchoolAI, a free (as of now) platform of tools for teachers. I spent some time with it, and I found it worth a look, with a wide range of tools under one roof that could be helpful to educators. (Note: I am not affiliated with the site at all. These views are my own.)

I used a tool within MagicSchool that generates questions for students watching a YouTube video (as long as the video is close-captioned) and I found the questions to be pretty thoughtful. I used the Teacher Joke generator and thought it needs some work (ahem). I used the Colleague Song generator to write a song about my fellow teacher friend, and it was very ChatGPT-ish in its construction (as in, fun to read, but not necessarily all that creative). I used the assignment rubric creator, and its final suggestions were pretty strong and useful, and something I could adapt for the real assignment I plugged in to try it out with.

One tool that really interested me, though, was “AI Resistant Assignment Suggestions” – in which you plug in assignment questions that you worry could be easily responded to by Generative AI (ie, cheating by students) and the site amps the question up in complexity and task, and then, helpfully, explains how its suggestions could help thwart an easily-made response from Generative AI. I found the results useful, actually, and its suggestions made me ponder more about the assignment I fed it (about protagonists and antagonists in stories).

Peace (Explorations),

Writing Poems For Write Out

The Mangrove Maze

Hey — Write Out 2023 kicks off tomorrow, and there’s a whole range of activities available for educators, student writers, community organizations and more. The theme this year is “Poetry, Prose and Parks.”

Write Out is a partnership between the National Writing Project and the National Park Service. Each year, National Park Rangers record video writing prompts that easily shared in classrooms, for place-based writing.

Share your work on social spaces with the #writeout tag.

My poem (above) is from a one-word prompt that had me thinking about the dense world of Mangroves.

Peace (and Place),

The Future of Book

Book Student Reflections

I just completed reading aloud Book: My Autobiography by John Agard (illustrations by Neil Packer) to my sixth graders, as we explored the history of books, stories, writing and more through the “eyes” of the narrator — Book. My students enjoy this one, and at the end, I asked them to do some reflecting on the future of books.

The image above captures an interesting data point — nearly all of my students prefer paper bound books as opposed to digital books (I am going to have more of a conversation today with them to suss out a bit why) and their predictions of what books will look like in the future show a mix of possibilities for stories and some fears that paper books will become a thing of the past.

Peace (Inside The Pages),

View From The Kayak: RiverMirror

I noticed how beautiful the reflections were on the surface of water at the start of the changing of leaves as I took my kayak out the other day. We’re gearing up for Write Out, so this seemed like a natural fit.

Peace (And Paddle),