Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Go Ahead, Judge a Book By Its Cover- Or Title!

This is about a girl changing who she is to fit in at her high school.

On Tuesday, January 29, 2013 the LMC hosted our first ever Book Spine Poetry Slam with the juniors from Mr. Kluch and Ms. Harris' classes.

Poetry frightens most people, including me. All that figurative language and evocative imagery can intimidate the most confident person. But poetry is really just a different form of story telling not unlike a novel or a painting.

The idea behind Book Spine Poetry is to let students participate in creating verse in a friendly, fast and fun way. Classes were divided into groups of 3-5 and given six books. They could exchange the books with others from the book bank, but could only work with six at a time. They were given five minutes to create a poem using the titles of six books, read top to bottom. No add-in phrases allowed. Each group read their poem aloud and explained its meaning and themes.

To say that Ms. Orest, Ms. Harris, Mr. Kluch and I were blown away is an understatement. We had no idea what to expect from the students, this being our first time using the activity. As is often the case when you work with youth, you end up learning more from those you serve than the other way around!

Not only were the students energetic in their approach to the challenge, they rose above our meager expectations and drew a few tears with their poems. (Not ashamed!)

At risk of beating a dead horse, I can't stress enough how an activity like this wouldn't be possible without books in the Library Media Center! Students touched books, moved about the LMC, engaged with other classmates in their randomly assigned groups and created stories where there were none. (Like magic!) Not one item used for this assignment involved a device, a battery or access to WiFi. Technology is wonderful, but hands-on physical materials are just as valuable for meaningful learning.

So sit back and enjoy the genius of our HHS students!

This is one of my favorites from third hour.

A soldier's battlefield message to his wife. (Yeah, got to me too.)

They went with Faulkner for the theme and look at all the titles they found to connect to that last book.

All about feeling like you don't belong, but knowing there is a place that you do.

 Down Under, but not Australia, if you know what I mean. 

Isn't this one beautiful?


  1. I am amazed at the depth of emotion each of these can evoke - an amazing project with profound effect! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  2. Did the students judge the slam or did the three adults?

  3. The adults did, but it sure wasn't easy!