Friday, January 17, 2014

Comparing Poems to Other Texts

  I love comparing texts as it always helps us to notice something new about texts and our world. As we have gone on with learning about figurative language, students read the poem "Wake Up". I put it in a recorded form to make it easy for students to read:

We talked about how the simile in the poem compares the call of the cardinal to an alarm clock. Unfortunately, spring is still so far away from us here in Pennsylvania that we don't hear any cardinals in the early mornings! Instead, I found this video to share with students:

What is so interesting is how the video really highlights some of the information from the poem. What a great way to help students compare multimedia texts. Some questions to discuss:
-How do the images enhance the words?
-How are the purposes of the videos different?
-Which text might you choose to learn specific facts?

...and, even more interesting to consider:
-How do these two texts enhance each other?

In the end, both texts together really create a new kind of synthesis. They work together well to present an idea about cardinals and spring time. So much of current text comparisons have us analyzing the texts separately--what does this text do? What about this one? But now I am thinking that it is almost better to consider new questions. How do they work together? Which texts should be paired, and why?

After we worked with the poem, I put on the Cornell Feeder Cam to fill up some transition time. I haven't used the bird cams much this year and I was interested to see how students would react. They loved it! I found two bird books that had been languishing on the shelves and the students eagerly leafed through the pages, trying to identify the birds that we were seeing. Even more surprisingly, some students were spontaneously making similes: "Mrs. Kissner, that bird is as fat as a truck!" (It was quite a plump evening grosbeak.) While no cardinals came to the feeder, we did get to see several woodpeckers and a nuthatch. It was a lovely way to bring nature into the classroom on cold and frosty days.

-You can find the Comparing Poetry activity on Frolyc. It is ready to publish to your students' iPads!
-The cardinal poem and an informational text are also available in my Figurative Language pack. Great for RL 4.7 or 5.7!

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