April 12, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2011

Poetry Friday Flash Mob Instructions

It's a very happy Poetry Friday this week. The Baltimore Book Festival begins this evening!

The Children's Bookstore always has great authors in their tent. I'm excited to hear Libba Bray (will get Going Bovine signed for the teen) tonight. My 'tween is coming with me to  hear Tom Angleberger, and have her copy of Origami Yoda signed tomorrow.

Of course, there are many poetry events going on throughout the weekend.

I am most excited about hosting the Living Poetry Flash Mob (tomorrow at 12.)

Think Magnetic Poetry, but with people in tee-shirts. We wanted to do something to promote family literacy for the global 100 Thousand Poets for Change event. Saturday will see 650 events, 450 cities, in 95 countries putting on poetry events. You can read my interview with organizer Michael Rothenberg here.

Poet Virginia Crawford and I are "moderating," which may turn out to be controlling the chaos. We figure, even if it's a disaster, it will be fun.

If you'd like to try a Living Poetry Flash Mob in your classroom, here's how:

  • one plain tee shirt per child (white or light colors -- old tees turned inside out would work)
  • fabric markers
  • a favorite poem (for elementary schoolers, something like Shel Silverstein's "Adventures of a Frisbee" would work, we are using Lucille Clifton's "Blessing the Boats" at BBF)


1. Give each student 1-2 words

Beforehand, you will need to either type up your poem in a BIG font and cut each word out or hand-write the individual words on index cards.

2. Get crafty

Have each student write his or her word/s on the front (second word on back, if you're doing two words each) of the tee shirt. Bling is okay. Decorations are great, as long as others can read the word.

3. Take turns

Choose two or three students, or two sets of partners, to be the poets. These students will organize their classmates into a short poem. Take a photo of the living poem or write it on the board. Then choose another set of poets.

4. Another option

You could also have the poets create phrases, rather than a complete poem, then ask the whole class to organize the phrases into a poem.

This should be fun for your visual learners, as well as your body-kinesthetic kids. If you try it, let me know how the poetry lesson goes.

I hope you make it to a 100 TPC event near you. Meanwhile, enjoy more poetry posts with Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day.


GatheringBooks said...

Thank you for the round up of poetry events in the coming days. I recall that you posted about 100,000 Poets for a Change which I made sure I reposted in my facebook and twitter pages. Truly a lovely endeavour.

I also like your instructions about how to do a Living Poetry Flash Mob in the classroom - I would definitely recommend this site to my teacher students. Looks like a fun activity that kids would enjoy. :)

Author Amok said...

Thanks for reposting about 100 TPC Myra. I am excited about being part of this global event.

Making poetry fun for kids is what it's all about -- especially with elementary schoolers.

Anastasia Suen said...

What a great activity! Have fun tonight!

Thanks for participating in Poetry Friday this week!

:-) Anastasia

Linda B said...

Wish I could go to the festival, but really want to tell you that I love the flash mob poetry idea, & will share with all the teachers I work with. Thanks!

Tara said...

What a great sixth graders will love this!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Ladies. Let me know how it goes. If you come up with some tips to make this workshop work well, I'd love to hear them.

Julie said...

Living Poetry Flash Mob - great idea! And I like your attitude - "We figure, even if it's a disaster, it will be fun."

Author Amok said...

Hi, Julie. I'm pleased to report that it was not a disaster! We had a slow start, but the more people we pulled in from festival foot traffic, the more fun we had making living poems. I hope you have a chance to check out the photos I posted on 9/25.