2017-2018 Action Research Grant--Vicky Mahoney

Play with Words: Motivating Students to be Creative Writers

An explanation of the research question and objective of the project:
What happens to my students’ writing when I incorporate new instructional strategies to teach poetry and give students more time write poetry in a stimulating environment?
1.What happens to students’ motivation to write?
2. What happens to how invested they are in revising their work?
3. What happens when they revise their work with their peers?
4. What happens when they share their work with an audience?
5. Does their writing get better?

My goal for writing this grant was to get students excited about poetry. Before I started my poetry unit I asked the students how they felt about poetry. “Boring” and “difficult”  were the first words that came out during our discussion. Then I showed them a bag of bubble gum and their eyes lit up. I put a piece of gum in front of them and I told them not to touch it yet. They cried out, “Please. Can I have it now? It smells so good!”

Before they could have the gum they had to do a writing task first.

First, they had to smell the gum and write down a list of words to describe the smell. They made a list to describe how the gum looked and felt. Eventually, they were able to write words to describe the taste and sound. They laughed and had contests to see who could blow the biggest bubble. After this fun brainstorming session they had to write a poem about the piece of gum.

These are examples of students writing.

“Bubble gum is magical and it smells like a strawberry exploded.”

“Bubble gum sounds like a man stomping in mud.”

“Bubble gum smells like a world of happiness.”

I was inspired to try this lesson after reading the poem Bubble Trouble by Karma Wilson. My enthusiasm for poetry increased after receiving this grant. I am excited to share my other poetry lessons and my students’ work in my next blog excerpt.


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