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Poetry and Photography

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Keywords: Poetry
Subject(s): Writing
Grades 7 through 8
School: Westlawn Middle School, Huntsville, AL
Planned By: Bobbi Murphy
Original Author: Bobbi Murphy, Huntsville
Lesson Objectives:
•Understand how different camera images and techniques convey the tone of a poem
•Learn to film using still images to convey poem’s tone.
•Understand that poetry is a way of expressing one’s innermost feelings and be able to express their own feelings through this medium.
•Understand and appreciate how a poet’s message is conveyed through the use of various poetic techniques/devices.
•Appreciate how memorization and recitation of poetry can aid in self-expression and self-confidence.
•Understand effective rate, volume, pitch, and tone for the audience and setting,
A team of English students will take the role of a production company and will create a 4-5 minute film using the digital image as a medium for interpreting students’ original poems. Three classes will be working together in order to complete this project: Creative Writing, English, and The Actor’s Studio.
The Creative Writing students will write original poems using various poetic techniques to convey a specific tone. These tone words include awe, cynical, didactic, jovial, mocking, quizzical, reflective and indignant. The English students will use these poems for their image projects. A team of English students will take the role of a production company and create an original digital film interpreting the poem using the DIGITAL CAMERAS. Each production team will be paired with a student, from the Actor's Studio class, who will recite the poem.
Each team will recite, interpret, and create digital still images and short video clips using various camera shots and techniques. The TOOL FACTORY PAINTER will be used to enhance the images using the various special effects. The students will use these still images and video clips and create their movies in Windows Movie Maker. At the end of the project, the students will post their work on the school's web site and Teacher Tube.. Each group will give a brief presentation of their films discuss the artistic decisions made after examining the language of the poem.
Stage One: The first stage of this project is for the Creative Writing class to write poems based on specific tone words. The creative writing teacher will give specific instructions on how to work with language and use specific poetic techniques to reflect a specific tone.
Stage Two: While the Creative Writing students are creating their poems, my English students will be given a lesson on how to identify a poem’s tone. They will read and analyze several poems and the poetic techniques used to convey the tone of the poem. In the next step of the project, I will show the students examples of how still and moving images can reflect the tone of the poem. In this stage of the project, I show them several soliloquies from Shakespeare’s plays as a demonstration of the different ways in which image is used to interpret the soliloquies. I will use scenes from Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard III to show how various film techniques are used.
Stage Three: I will divide the students into five groups which will consist of a Producer, Director/Camera Operator, Storyboard Artist, Set Designer, Film Editor. The Producers will meet with me and we will create each group. The producers are responsible for planning, organizing, and disseminating information to their group members. Also, they will help their group members with their roles. The Producers will use the TOOL FACTORY BANK MANAGER to organize the image bank that the students will create during the course of the project. Before the students begin work, they will choose a poem from the Creative Writing class and discuss the word choice in the poem and how it reflects the tone. Listing these important words will be the foundation of their project. The Director is responsible to document the narrator of the poem as well as the character traits that he or she possesses. Then he or she will decide on the camera shots and techniques that support the tone of the poem. The Set Designer will make the decisions of the setting and costumes to capture the mood of the poem. The Storyboard Artist will document the sequence of events of the images, the set design, and the camera techniques. The editor will use the Storyboard to edit the images and video into the Moviemaker program. The editor will also be responsible for creating the opening image, credits, and closing credits of the film.
Stage Four: Once the group has made its artistic decisions, they will need to choose an actor. The production team will choose an actor from the Actor’s Studio class. The group will work together and discuss their artistic decisions.
Stage Five: The groups will start to film using a mixture of still and video images with the DIGITAL CAMERAS. Once the images and video clips have been created, the film editor will retrieve the images from the TOOL FACTORY BANK MANAGER to import the images into Microsoft Windows movie maker and create a movie. After the films have been created, they will use the MULTIMEDIA LAB V to create their own web page. On the webpage they will include the text of the poem as well as the film.
Stage Six: Each group will present to all classes, Creative Writing, and Actor’s Studio. At this stage, the production teams will present to all the classes involved. They will give a brief presentation of their artistic decisions, as well as answer questions that the other students might have about their films. Every student will have an evaluation sheet and give constructive feedback for each project.
Stage Seven: All the films will be burned on a DVD and given to each student. The films will be posted on the school's website so other teachers will be able to use these projects in their own poetry units. For example, the students from other classes could read the poems and watch the films and write an essay explaining how the film does or does not capture the tone of the poem.
This type of project gives the students a personal and hands on experience dealing with the language of poetry. Using the digital image to aid in their interpretations will help them analyze, discuss and interpret other poems that they will read.
Supplemental Material:
Each student will receive a packet for this project. I will include handouts on Copyright laws, story board design, background music, Introduction to editing, framing, and video titles. These worksheets will help focus and organize students so they can work independently. After each group meeting, the students must complete a Self-Reflecting survey. This survey helps them stay organize, keeps me up to date of the group’s progress, and gives me an evaluation tool for each student.

Materials: Point and Shoot
Other Items: 3 Point and Shoot digital cameras, $89.00 each, total of $267.00