What, take time from the key last month of test preparation to look up and take in the hint of arriving spring? What a waste of dwindling instructional days until the TEST!!
Yet, let me state that since the first year of my ELA teaching career, I have always dedicated time for a Rites of Spring and also included the Poetry Rites project in every literacy writing and reading across content course I have taught in service and initial teachers. With the use of chromebooks and other connected devices I can tap into their capacity to store and to curate audio, video, graphics, photos and music as well, so I can enthrall my spatial, musical, tactile, kinesthetic, and intrapersonal learners in this collaborative rite as well as ESL and special needs who have so many international and personal perspectives to contribute.
These rites authenticate the raison d’etre of writing which is not to answers prompts fully for a top rubric score, but rather to concretize emotion in a shareable format. which the writer can revisit as well. The use of Chromebooks and connected devices means that the conversations which figure into writing can be saved and shared as audio files and musically inclined composers can record and share their songs or melodies, with English language fluency or proficiency no bar.
A 19 century British poet named William Wordsworth in the 19th century imagined himself wondering around “lonely as a cloud” ( a metaphor) and in this dream state sees “ a host, of golden daffodils/Fluttering and dancing in the breeze,” to which he during the dream gives little thought or value. But later when he is alone in his room, comes to realize “what wealth to me the show had brought,” has meaning for not only for him an obviously dead poet of the 19th century from Europe; but also perhaps for 21st century persons here surrounded by the cell phones, messages, emails, streaming video and broadcast digital media.
It is time to a take a brief pause from our attempts to get our students to highlight and chunk templated texts. Instead of making certain every period everyday that our students can explicate and reference diagrams and graphic organizers or charts, we can dedicate just one or two periods from 180 days or more of instruction to sharing with our students, the insights and emotions of that dead poet whose words and visions live on the outburst of emotion he expressed about those dancing daffodils who would somehow- not through nonexistent at that time video looping or special technical effects but through his poet’s trained retentive imagination-“flash upon that inward eye. . . And then my heart with pleasure fills, /And dances with the daffodils.” All that being said, we can also ironically use our chromebooks to see on YouTube how many visual and recording artists recreate his words and this poetry experience as video.
Have students draw or illustrate or detail how an animator or a film maker might bring this 19th century’s poet’s images to 21st century technological life!! Give out storyboards. Allow students in pairs or in teams to storyboard the poem. Have shoeboxes available and arts (pipe cleaners, crepe paper) materials to collage or create Joseph Cornell box scenes of some of the images. Students can scan their storyboards into chromebook or connected device graphic files. The teacher can display and loop them as a gallery or as a backdrop for an onsite exhibit of the Cornell boxes – shoeboxes with scenes from the poem. These can be saved as photos on individual chromebooks or an as an aggregate on the teacher’s console. A video of the artistic multimedia response to the poem can also be filmed and uploaded as well onto the central teacher console.
Have students talk about what things in nature herald to them the beginning of spring. Let them list draw and exchange these observations. Whatever region or native homeland, some tree, flower bud, o spring start of a sports, lengthier days, cultural festival or store windows signal spring. Direct them to share what things which cost no money but fill hearts “metaphorically” fill their hearts with joy. Know that even those who do not speak are thinking about the concept and that from now on they will be on the lookout for something joyful that is free that coincides with the start of spring . This conversation can be recorded and saved as an audio file which can be shared online within the chromebook circle to elicit online visitor or on site visitor commentary.
Suggest that they update Wordsworth’s poem format with 21st century images of joyful spring awakenings.
Have them read and illustrate these poems and maybe “poetry slam” record them for as a spring audio. Again, this experience can also be filmed and saved on the chromebook, not only for this year’s rite of Spring but for upcoming years. How better to “seed” a project than with peer student components saved on chromebooks and ready to use from prior years?
Challenge them to view on a collection of Youtube videos compiled by 21st century empowered digital artists and recordings which voice this 19th century poem 150 years later. Challenge them to anticipate specific gender or voice quality needed for a successful poem audio or video production,
They can develop for individual student use and save on their personal Chromebook their own audio or scratch animation or stop animation or even live neighborhood video of the signs of spring to post on their school sites or share as part of an expo festival.
Finally, conclude the experience if at all possible, with the gift of a single daffodil given to each student willing to take it home at the close of school day. Since daffodils unlike roses or lilies are not commercially sought after, many florists will deeply discount a mass order and some donate for acknowledged sponsorship credit and photos of the exiting students. Take pictures of the students as they exit with daffodils in hand. Where do these get saved or perhaps developed into a poster or wallpaper for event? Yes, those chromebook curators ready to charge.
True these rites of spring have taken periods away from the text and practicing for tests to raise student scores. But as students grow to be adults open to the joys of the ineffable, their hearts and minds will be filling with the pleasure of daffodils. This capacity for ineffable pleasure will sustain them as persons, learners, family members, friends, and community. Prescient dead poet Wordsworth observed in 1807 “the world is too much with us.” By taking time away from that data accountable world, educators have the chance to model for students how to experience the richness of natural seasonal life changes accessible to all with no income or achievement gaps. Is that not far more important than raising their test scores for a single set of exams? Rites of Spring help students pass successfully the daunting and deadening blows life can hurl through an inner reserve of finding joy in what is always available? Ironically 21st century chromebooks and other connected tools can help keep this rich emotional legacy ongoing for a broad spectrum of visual, audio, musical, intrapersonal, and other learning styles as well as ESL and special needs learners. Let the daffodil lesson of Wordsworth be passed on to generations hence, who would not want to “dance with the daffodils”?
https://youtu.be/B2sdzDinf2c (female in video)
https://youtu.be/mQnyV2YWsto (Jeremy Irons)
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3umpaz (animation of the poem)
http://youtu.be/Qtjz1Mwu0AA (animation of the poem)
Dr. Rose Reissman,
Academic and Grant Funding Director for Sector 5
About Sector 5,
Sector 5, Inc. (OTCQB: SFIV), is a Proud American Corporation, that sells, manufactures and develops new innovative consumer electronics under Sector 5 and other brands. The Company markets its partnership with Google approved Chromebooks to educational organizations, other B2B and B2C sales channels, with retail sales on Amazon. It is in development of several new products to serve the educational, business and retail markets. Follow the company on http://www.twitter.com/sectorfiveinc and http://www.facebook.com/sect5 and find further information at http://www.sector-five.com. For Sector 5’s Forward Looking Statements, click here.