Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Today I Love "Touchscreen"...Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge

I've been challenged by the many creative folks who participated in the Slice of Life Story Challenge that I just finished in March to actually acknowledge and do something about National Poetry Month this year.  I'm ashamed of how many times I've let it slip by unnoticed over the years and am committed (or maybe just should be committed!) to do something poetic with my students each day this month.  Wish me luck! At the same time that I am trying to be poetic, I'll also be doing a weekly slice at The Slice of Life Weekly Challenge each Tuesday. And of course...there's always something to love!  Enjoy!

Today I love "Touchscreen" by Marshall Davis/Soulful Jones.  I happened across this gem of performance poetry as I was looking for something different to share with my students on this second day of National Poetry Month.  We worked hard writing Six Room Poems yesterday (there's your link, Linda Fifer!), and I wanted them to be able to just listen and enjoy today.  My 7th and 8th graders loved, loved, loved it!  I played it TWICE for them...and for me!  Because the youtube version (link below) is a teeny bit PG rated, I did not show it to my 6th graders and opted instead to read a few poems aloud from A Child's Anthology of Poetry.  Oh, that every child (and adult) could have their own copy of this book to highlight, underline, and notate up a storm in!  They enjoyed Roger the Dog by Ted Hughes, and Homework! Oh Homework! by Jack Prelutsky, along with a few others. My heart thrilled to see that as I turned the book sideways, they recognized The Mending Wall by Robert Frost just by its shape alone!  A guest speaker recently took them all the way through this classic poem and they obviously remembered what they learned!

For my students who just competed in our Junior High Speech Meet, watching Mr. Jones perform "Touchscreen" was a chance to view an art form of the highest quality.  I loved it because so many of us, teacher and student alike, connected with it...and isn't that what poetry is all about...connections?  I asked the students to jot down words and phrases that caught their attention or spoke to them.  I was amazed at what they picked out...very much the same lines that got to me!  

"from the garden of Eden
to the branches of Macintosh
apple picking has always come at a great cost"


"it was difficult to connect when friends formed cliques
now it’s even more difficult to connect
now that clicks form friends" 

When I got home tonight I went searching for the words to the whole poem and googled them up at The Henry Brothers' Jim Jam Slam.  You'll be able to access the words and view the performance at this link.  Please enjoy this little slice of my day in Middle School as we read, write, rhythm and rhyme our way through National Poetry Month. 


  1. I'm hanging my head because I won't be doing very much for Poetry Month this year. But I have done slam poetry with my 8th graders in past years. We all loved it. We did do some book spine poetry earlier this month that was much fun as well. Now how can I squeeze in some poetry amid the test prep?

  2. This is when I miss teaching...when I hear things like this! Will be interesting to see how the month progreses. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

  3. Trish, this was interesting to watch --- and think about. I found these lines interesting:

    update my status
    420 spaces
    to prove I’m still breathing

    so we E*TRADE
    like e-commerce
    because now money can buy love

    Jeff watched this with me and wants to use it with his 8th graders. Thanks for sharing it --- and all the other great National Poetry Month links.

    (You might want to check out Mary Lee Hahn's Blog: A Year in Reading. She's doing a daily poem inspired from Wikimedia Commons. I think this might be interesting for older students.)


  4. Got her link from your blog and am using that one tomorrow! Yay for sharing good ideas!