Proposal for book chapter entitled: “Multimodal Response and Writing as Poetry Experience” September 30, 2012 Author(s); J.

Gregory McVerry (jgregmcverry@gmail.com), W. Ian O‟Byrne (wiobyrne@gmail.com), Sue Ringler Pet (sue.ringler.pet@gmail.com) Introduction Given the changes occurring to reader, text, and activity in the classroom as a result of technology (Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear, & Leu, 2008), educators bear a responsibility to include and privilege alternative modes of text in instruction (Rose & Meyer, 2002; New London Group, 2000; Alvermann, 2002). Furthermore, the ubiquitous influx of new and free Internet and Communication Technology (ICT) tools into our culture provides educators and students with an opportunity to experiment with and master the use of these tools for writing in and out of the classroom. Individuals construct content in blogs, social networks, and video sharing sites with the intent of communicating the human experience to others around the world. With these great freedoms afforded by the presence and use of ICT tools, educators must focus on the author and the text rather than on the tool in determining authentic and effective uses of technology in writing instruction. Toward that end, we share opportunities for the use of multimedia authorship and response used as a tool to assist teachers and students in experiencing poetry. What do multimodal and digital information afford to the student and teacher with regard to responding to and writing poetry? In our view, important work in this arena must not use technological writing tools for the sake of using technology in the classroom, but, rather, for the sake of enriching experiences with poetry. In this chapter, we present authentic and effective uses of technology in writing instruction that center on exploration and celebration of the work of U.S. Poet Laureates. The instructional opportunities reflect years of theory, research, and practice investigated by the authors, tested by educators, and presented at literacy conferences. The use of various digital texts as tools to assist teachers and students as they work together to respond to and write poetry represents a common thread across the work presented. Theoretical Perspectives Considering theoretical perspectives associated the work presented in this chapter, the authors focused on the richness of theory and research informing writing and literature instruction. The theory section will evolve from the tenets of Rosenblatt‟s (1938/1995; 1978) transactional theory of reading and response and from the theory, ethics, and philosophy of Bakhtin (1981). Second, we will include a concise examination of the abundance of work on multimedia, design, and visual literacies (Rose & Meyer, 2002; New London Group, 2000; Alvermann, 2002). Herein, we aim to define multimodal poetry as it is enriched by the interweaving of theoretical perspectives from the realms of both literacy and technology. The theoretical section will thus capture and share the introspection on the part of the authors, as we worked with and expanded our

own thinking on the theory and practice associated with this work. Classroom Examples Celebrating Poet Laureates The remainder of the chapter will explore and discuss work the authors have conducted on response, authoring, and construction of multimodal poetry in teaching and learning. While defining multimodal poetry, we will also discuss instructional techniques associated with using these digital texts and tools in classroom instruction. The work was conducted over almost five years of exploration, research, and instruction by the authors and classroom teachers. Each of the sections focuses on U.S. Poet Laureates, representing our attempt highlight authentic uses of technology in middle and high school classrooms while celebrating the rich culture of poetry currently alive in the nation. Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams: Exploring Tone and Extended Metaphor. Recent research has begun to examine approaches to teaching poetry that embrace either response or authorship merged with new technologies (see for example Bailey, 2009; George, 2002; Jewitt, 2005; Hughes & John, 2009; McVee, Bailey, & Shanahan, 2008; Pappas & Varelas, 2009;). Our work examined the integration of technology to potentially enrich English classrooms, looking at both response to and authorship of poetry. We will begin by sharing results from a research project that had students use images both to respond to and write poetry. Using thematic network analysis (Attride-Stirling, 2001), we found that non-verbocentric approaches using technology improved student engagement with poetry, and that technology acted as an identity toolkit (Gee, 2005) for young authors. The results of this study acted as a catalyst for our efforts to develop pedagogical strategies to use technology to teach poetry writing. Billy Collins: Poetry Exploration and Movie Production. Billy Collins (2003) famously wrote that students try to beat poetry “with a hose to find out what it really means” rather than “drop a mouse into a poem and watch him probe his way out” (p. 3). We took the metaphor of a mouse and encouraged students to “read with a mouse in hand.” In this project students used movie-editing software to create retellings of poems. The images selected provided insight into student responses to a poem, and the editing process required a close analytical reading of poetry not found in traditional lessons. Kay Ryan: Twitter and “Twitpoems.” The poetry of Kay Ryan has often been described as having a style and wit that is often reminiscent of the short staccato communication found in the “microblogging” service known as Twitter. In this project, the authors encouraged students to read and respond to many of Ryan‟s works, while comparing and contrasting these pieces with “twitpoems” found online. Students also constructed their own “twitpoems” in the same style as discussed in class. Finally, students worked to author multimodal representations of the poems using visual and digital media. W.S. Merwin: Poetry for Social Justice. Concerned with the impact of digital texts and tools in the society, the authors use the words of W. S. Merwin to focus on issues of social justice in students‟ lives. In this project, students used photographs taken with their cell phones to spark civic engagement. Students began by writing prose and selecting

powerful phrases. These phrases were transformed into poetry through juxtaposition of multimodal content with textual expressions of social justice. Robert Pinsky: Celebrating the Jazz of Poems through Podcasting. Continuing the focus of the richness of language in poetry, the authors used technology as a tool to limit the media students consume and create while experiencing poetry. Through the use of audio podcasts, students were encouraged to focus on the lyrical and rhythmic quality of spoken performances of poetry, appreciate the history of oral tradition, and feel empowered to record poetic podcasts of their own creation. Discussion and Concluding Thoughts The final section of the chapter will summarize the theories and perspectives used across the work conducted on writing multimodal poetry. The authors will also share insights gained from working with teachers and students during the work process and through assessment. The chapter will conclude with an exploration of the ways in which teaching and learning have changed as a result of work such as ours. Specifically, we will address the opportunities and challenges associated with teaching and assessment of work process and product included in exploring multimodal poetry. The chapter will also discuss the changing roles and responsibilities needed by teachers and students when using ICTs as a writing and response tool in the modern classroom. Finally, the chapter will be accompanied by a website that shares student constructed examples of multimodal authorship as described in each of the projects.

References Alvermann, D. E. (2002). Adolescents and literacies in a digital world. New York: Peter Lang. Attride-Stirling, J. (2001). Thematic networks: An analytic tool for qualitative research. Qualitative Research 1, 385-405. Bailey, N. (2009). “It makes it more real”: Teaching new literacies in a secondary English classroom. English Education, 41, 207-234. Bakhtin, M. M. (1981) The Dialogic imagination: Four essays. Austin and London: University of Texas Press. Collins, B. (2003) Poetry 180: A Turning back to poetry. New York: Random House. Coiro, J., Knobel, M., Lankshear, C. & Leu, D. (Eds.) (2008). Handbook of research on new literacies. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Gee, J. (2005). Semiotic social spaces and affinity spaces. In D. Barton & K. Tusting (Eds.). Beyond communities of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. George, D. (2002). From analysis to design: Visual communication in the teaching of writing. College Composition and Communication, 54, 11-39. Hughes, J. & John. A. (2009). From page to digital stage: Creating digital performances of poetry. Voices from the Middle, 16, 15-22. Jewitt, C. (2005). Multimodality, „„Reading,‟‟ and „„Writing‟‟ for the 21st Century. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 26, 315-331. The New London Group. (1996). A Pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60–92. Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Retrieved December 25, 2009, from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/ Rosenblatt, L. (1938/1995). Literature as exploration. (5th ed.). New York: Modern Language Association. Rosenblatt, L. (1978). The Reader, the text, the poem: The Transactional theory of the literary work. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois Press. Pappas, C. & Varelas, M. (2009). Multimodal books in science-literacy units: Language and visual images for meaning making. Language Arts, 86, 201-211.

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