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Using Poem Cards for a Transmedia Project

by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong
 | Apr 29, 2015

Just as savvy parents can slip zucchini into recipes to make every bite count, savvy teachers can use poetry and transmedia such as poem movies and poem cards to enrich all content areas with language arts instruction.

The following is our step-by-step guide for creating trading poem cards during our exercise called “Trading Card Time” (not “the Language Arts Lesson”).
This is a supplement to our article, “Nourishing the Mind All Day Long,” which appeared in the May/June Children’s Literature issue of Reading Today.

Step 1: Study Mentor Texts
Review PDF files for a dozen different Pocket Poems Cards (postcards and business card-sized collectible trading cards). You can find examples of these cards at Pomelo Books. For other good sources of poems that you can print, visit Poetry Minute, Poetry Foundation, or poets.org.

Here are some examples:

Step 2: Build Critical Thinking Skills/Identify Favorite Cards

  • Print poems.
  • Have students cut poems and tape/glue to index cards.
  • Allow students to browse, choose, trade, and keep 1–5 printed cards.

Step 3: Build Communication Skills/Describe Favorites
Ask students to describe their favorite elements of each card.

  • What do they like best about the poem?
  • What do they like best about the card?

Step 4: Create Cards of Their Own

  • Write a short poem (typing is optional).
  • Tape or glue the poem to an index card.
  • Decorate the back of the card with illustrations (their own or found on the Internet).
  • Give cards to younger students or trade with another class.

Sylvia Vardell is a professor at Texas Woman’s University. She has published extensively and maintains the Poetry for Children blog. Janet Wong, an ILA member since 2012, is the author of 30 children’s books. Vardell and Wong are the creative forces behind The Poetry Friday Anthology series (Pomelo Books).

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