Publishing Poetry on the iPad

We’re in the heart of our unit on poetry.  My students have learned several strategies that poets use including repetition, onomatopoeia, alliteration, visual imagery and line breaks.  This week a few students wanted to draft their poems on the iPad.  We had not tried this before, so I decided to let my students “have a go.”

As I watched my students carefully, I tried to think about how this experience was different than writing or publishing on paper.  I noticed two big things right away.

First, the concept of line breaks and how to use them effectively was evident when writing on the iPad.  Planning line breaks and reworking them to fit in a handwritten poem is labor intensive for the average first grade student.  When writing on the iPad, line breaks become easy to fix, move and manipulate.  This results in line breaks that make an impact for both the reader and writer.

Second, kids were more likely to revise their drafts when working on the iPad.  Similar to what I observed with line breaks, it was easy for kids to manipulate the text and change the layout without having to erase, rewrite and reorganize.  Many times I saw my students write a few lines then share their work with a think partner.  When the think partner would provide feedback, kids were more willing to use the feedback to enhance their poem because insertion or revision was a quick fix on the iPad.  In previous writing attempts, I had not seen my students work so flexibly or be as open to feedback.

There were additional benefits to writing on the iPad including the ease of organization and diverse options for sharing.  Not all students desired to draft on the iPad and that is perfectly fine by me.  I want to provide my students many options for thinking, writing and sharing their work. I hope to create an environment where kids move seamlessly between tools, modalities and resources.

It seems as though the students who drafted on the iPad were inspired by this experience–many wrote multiple poems and 4 or 5 are creating an ePub anthologies.   I’ll try to provide an update next week on Poetry Friday.


About Kristin

Kristin Ziemke has spent her career teaching and learning from children in both urban and suburban school districts. A first grade teacher in Chicago, Kristin engages students in authentic learning experiences where reading, thinking, collaboration and inquiry are at the heart of the curriculum. Co-author of Connecting Comprehension and Technology, Kristin pairs best practice instruction with digital tools to transform learning in the classroom and beyond. An Apple Distinguished Educator, National Board Certified Teacher and Chicago’s 2013 Tech Innovator of the Year, Kristin seeks opportunities to transform education through technology innovation. She inspires educators around the globe as a staff developer, speaker and writer. To learn more about her work follow her on Twitter @KristinZiemke.
This entry was posted in iPad, Poetry Friday, Technology, Writer's Workshop. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Publishing Poetry on the iPad

  1. Elsie says:

    All I can say is WOW! Is it the iPad or the teacher? I’m going with the teacher but a cool tool helps to motivate. I will looking forward to next Friday.

    • Katie says:

      You make a good point Elsie. The technology is nothing without great teaching behind it!

    • Kristin says:

      Thanks for the comment on this post! I was very happy with the quality of work my kids produced on the iPad. It was almost as though the iPad synthesized all the work that we had done in the past few weeks…suddenly, the light bulb went off and they had a tool that fostered their attempts at using these new skills. More on Friday!

  2. Anne Compton says:

    I am soooooo excited to find your blog and can’t wait to share it with my colleagues! I have just read through a few of your recent posts and am really thrilled to see what you are doing! I am from a district in North Dakota and we have been integrating technology as a tool for student learning for about 20 years, but it is always exciting to read and see what other educators are doing to enhance learning for kids. So, I will be back often to your blog! I am an instructional coach and am working with elementary teachers and writing workshop. This recent post on poetry and the iPad caught my attention – we have started a one-to-one initiative in our district, and I am really pushing for iPads at the elementary level. We have started with a few that our special educators are using with their students, especially the reading apps for kids who struggle. I’m always looking for ways to utilize the technology for writing, instructionally and for students to share, practice, and publish. Thanks!

    • Kristin says:

      Wow Anne! It sounds like you are doing so much in your district! Way to be an advocate! We are one-to-one with iPads in first grade and I can’t say enough about the impact they’ve had on learning! I know that most people are hesitant to put expensive devices in the hands of young children, but TRUTHFULLY–with explicit instruction following a gradual release of responsibility model, they can do anything! It’s such an exciting time for early childhood because young children now have the opportunity to find, use and share information with a mobile, developmentally appropriate, differentiated device. Fun times!

  3. Anne Compton says:

    Another thought, or perhaps a question …. we are wondering (I’ve shared your blog!) what is the best app to use for writing and publishing the poems? We noticed the awesome drawing components and wondered about that too. Thanks for your help!!

  4. Kristin says:

    Hi Anne! I’ve tried to give my students choice in what they use to write and publish. In the samples above, kids created the text in either eBook Magic or Pages. Then they created the image in Drawing Pad or Doodle Buddy and imported the image into their document. I have other kids using StoryKit and Keynote, as well.
    I feel like these samples synthesize all that we are learning–here, my students use poetry strategies, art and technology skills that we’ve studied. They created products that are beautiful in design and style. They truly own these pieces and are inspired to write more!
    Thanks for the great question! More poetry to come on the blog…

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