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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 16, No. 3, March 2009

Cover Art for Voices from the Middle, Vol. 16, No. 3, March 2009

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: The Road Seldom Taken: Poetry

  • Call for Manuscripts

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Editors’ Message: The Road Seldom Taken: Poetry

    Roxanne Henkin, Janis Harmon, Elizabeth Pate, and Honor Moorman

    Abstract: Sadly, most poetry lovers didn’t embrace their passion because of school experiences. In this issue, the authors explore how to nurture a love of poetry in the classroom and how to make the “road seldom taken” a well-worn path.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Celestino: A Tribute to the Healing Power of Poetry

    Georgia Heard

    Abstract: Georgia Heard spent a week with students in New Mexico, encouraging their search for “self-portrait poetry”—poetry in which they saw themselves. She witnessed courage, pain, tragedy, and hope in the choices and writing of those struggling students, and came to learn that at least one among them had found a life-changing outlet.

    Keywords: Middle

  • From Page to Digital Stage: Creating Digital Performances of Poetry

    Janette Hughes and Amy John

    Abstract: The authors share the story of a performance-based poetry project undertaken by a class of grade 6 and 7 students. The use of new digital media for reading, writing, and representing poetry encouraged an exploration of the relationship between text and image and how images and sound might be used to mediate meaning making. New media have an immersive and performative potential that encouraged students to get inside a poem and play with it. This project tapped into students’ interests in new media and allowed them to experience poetry in new ways through a multimodal learning environment.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Poetry and World War II: Creating Community through Content-Area Writing

    Elizabeth E. G. Friese and Jenna Nixon

    Abstract: Two educators and a classroom of fifth grade students integrated poetry writing into social studies curriculum focusing on World War II. Several strategies and approaches to writing poetry are highlighted including list poems, writing from photographs and artifacts, and two voice poems. The study culminated in a poetry reading and the creation of a class poetry anthology. Through poetry, students were able to demonstrate historical understandings while engaging with difficult issues through writing, sharing, conferencing, and performance.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Using Jacqueline Woodson’s Locomotion with Middle School Readers

    Mary Napoli and Emily Rose Ritholz

    Abstract: Motivation is an essential component in developing a love of reading in middle level struggling students. For these readers, novels in verse bridge the gap to more challenging pieces of literature. In this article, Title One students explored Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson and learned that they, too, are poets.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Next Steps in the Journey: Poetry as a 21st Century Problem-Solving Pursuit!

    Jeff Wilhelm

    Abstract: Having experienced student resistance to poetry, particularly from boys, Wilhelm advises teachers not to confine poetry to a genre unit, and to teach for “imagination and participation.” Only when students really engage with poetry will they discover that “poetry . . . is a unique and powerful way of exploring and knowing the world.”

    Keywords: Middle

  • Books for Young Adolescents: Novels in Verse

    Shawn Bird and Vickey M. Giles

    Abstract: Narrative expressed through poetry—a wonderful way to focus on current issues in a brief and accessible way. Here are 15 options for introducing this valuable genre.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Stories along the Way: the road from where we are

    Penny Kittle

    Abstract: Working with young adult dropouts, Kittle learned how important it is to have students work on writing and reading that matters to them. This group became completely engaged when what they were reading was a ballot that gave them a voice in their own futures, and the writing took the form of letters supporting funding of adult diploma programs.

    Keywords: Middle

  • New Puzzles/Next Moves: Exploring Poetry: How Does a Middle School Teacher Begin?

    Nancy Shanklin

    Abstract: Shanklin comments on several excellent reasons for using poetry throughout the school year, citing its accessibility, the community of choral reading, the practice in making deep inferences, and its role as a natural segue to writing. She also advises pretesting students to determine their current knowledge, becoming familiar with state and district standards and related exam questions, and encouraging performance of poetry.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Student to Student: Poetry across Our Lives

    Kim Ford

    Abstract: Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, New York, contributes an entire column devoted to novels in verse. These will be winners with your students, too!

    Keywords: Middle

  • Technology Toolkit: Extreme Poetry: Making Meaning through Words, Images, and Music

    Tracy Tarasiuk

    Abstract: Tarasiuk outlines a project, Extreme Poetry, that combined students’ original poetry, self-selected images and music, and multimedia publication. The goal of this successful project was to encourage students to interpret the meaning of an author’s writing and to apply these insights to their own poems.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Professional Reading for Middle Level Educators: Nurturing the Love of Poetry: A Journey of Communication, Expression, and Self-Understanding

    Penny Silvers

    Abstract: These poets share a love of language and an appreciation for the power of words to provide insight, clarity, self-awareness, and transformation. Reviewed are: Zigag: A Life of Reading and Writing, Teaching and Learning by Tom Romano; Poetry Matters by Ralph Fletcher; Poetry Everywhere: Teaching Poetry Writing in School and in the Community (2nd ed.) by Jack Collom and Sheryl Noethe; Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Bumps in the Road: Finding Literacy in Neverland

    Katie Monnin

    Abstract: Calling our current media age “the second greatest communication revolution” in history, Hall advocates for the inclusion of images, graphic novels, and all other multi-modalities in our literacy instruction. She challenges teachers to consider what literacy means during this new media age—to us and to our students.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Postcard from the Middle Level Section

    Carol Gilles and Jim Johnston

    Abstract: The NCTE Steering Committee is interested in hearing from teachers about what mandates are being imposed and how; how teachers are reacting; what happens to instruction; what happens to the kids. Send stories to or post it on the NCTE middle level blog site.

    Keywords: Middle

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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