20 Mar Slice of Life: Connecting with New Writers… #SOL18
Recently I was “introduced” to a poet through Slice of Life. Larkin Meehan shared this poet’s work on her blog. I spent over an hour that evening reading his work. I typically only blog about elementary or middle-grade text. His poetry, to me, reads more YA or adult, but the power in this writer’s words and craft needs to be shared. What better community than slice of lifers??!!
There is so much to say about his poetry. I could never capture all my thoughts, feelings, or questions in this post. One thing I particularly loved was the way he invited me into his own work. In each poem, he chooses certain lines to highlight. As the reader hovers over these words, an annotation pops up and the poet shares his thoughts and reflections about those lines. I have never experienced anything like this before and I think it is a powerful way for a writer to share his process or insights with the reader. It was almost as if he was annotating his own writing. The reader is also invited to respond to the writer or the writing in this section of the poem.
I think there are so many possibilities to use this with elementary, middle grade and high school students. The technology he used is Genius web annotator. I can envision students using this to share a response to each other’s writing. I particularly like that the writer has the power to choose which lines are open for annotation. I like having the writer share what he thinks are important lines – where he wants me to pause and respond.
Annotation is something I think a lot about as an educator. The day after I read these poems, I read this post by Fran McVeigh. She posed this question in her post:
How did you manage to figure this out with annotating? ( I believe that annotation has become the new “bore the kids stiff and make them hate reading” routine.)
I immediately went back to the poet’s work and thought about in relation to annotation. Maybe we are using annotation incorrectly. Does it need to be used to figure something out or gather evidence? What if annotation was response – both the author’s and the reader’s? What if the author could choose where he wanted to annotate and where he wanted response? I wonder if it would make it less boring. I wonder if it would have more meaning and purpose. For me, it was the first time annotation did not take me away from reading, it drew me in and further engaged me. It is something I plan to explore and try as a writer and a teacher.
Chris Chowder is the poet. I am grateful to Larkin for introducing me to Chris and to Chris for allowing me to share his work as well. So readers, meet Chris Chowder. Chris, meet your readers – welcome to an amazing community of writers!