Monday, August 13, 2007

Self Evaluation

Self Evaluation

Planning and Organization:
As stated in my Regie Gibson Imitation
The stress of procrastinating

This project of importance

The irritating festering death of fun

Homework is more than the plan

Of my weekend

That sums up my preparation for the project.
I had purchased the book weeks in advance and had been listening to the audio cd a good bit but spent little time organizing my thoughts. My main focus was to create a lesson that was enjoyable, worth the time and not intimidating. I think I accomplished that. Looking back, I should have spent more time organizing the discussion questions and the information leading up to them.

Teaching Presence and Authority:
When substitute teaching I would get the best response from kids when I walked around the room, looking over shoulders and offering suggestions. It makes an instructor seem more engaged in the topic and progress of the students. I thought I would give it a try in the college setting. Not sure how everyone felt but no one made mention or said “go away.” The management of students was straight forward. I wanted to call on everyone to get their insight. Not to get them involved but because I wanted to hear their ideas.
How did I feel in front of the class?
I was intimidated at first. I was the last of the indy teach presentations and everyone had done such a good job of relating it to the class room, creating good discussion and providing a wealth of information. I was stepping up to the plate with a unit on slam poetry which may or may not be a subject worthy of study in an English teacher’s eyes.
My style?
Relaxed, supportive, and I tried to get everyone engaged.

Incorporation of Writing:
My two prompts were time consuming and I knew that going into the presentation. I was hoping for some good writing and ideas and I got more than I bargained for. Looking back I would have communicated my intentions of the writing exercises to take the stress out of it. I am glad I was able to present those great prompts and hopefully they will find their use in our future classrooms.

Meaningful Connection with Students:
Poetry is a very intimate subject and style of writing. I was very pleased to lead a discussion with exercises and have my peers share what they created. That was the most meaningful aspect of this experience.

In Summary:
I enjoyed creating this presentation, sharing some ideas and introducing new poets, new writing styles and a new experience with my peers.
Overall Grade: B+++

I have added a couple more links and will keep them up through the week. Be sure and book mark them if they are of interest

love dan


Maureen Murphy said...

I was very intrigued with the idea of slam poetry. Like so many other things in this class, I had never been exposed to it. You did spectacular with introducing us to so many different slam poets through video. Just watching them perform was explanation enough for the definition of slam.

I liked the fact that you were flexible with the time limits. I know that such a thing won't always be possible, but you managed to pull it off gracefully. Giving extra time was very helpful considering we were writing poetry, something that takes me quite a bit of time for revision. Matter of fact, I don't like to share my work until I have had the opportunity to revise it. I am not one of those spur of the moment writers, I need time to mull over my word choices and such.

Your presence was very professional. You had such a comfortable and laid back air about you. I felt safe being taught by you, which I value. It seemed you had experience with teaching because of the natural way you flowed through the unit.

The prompt that I found a bit daunting was the first, writing with a specific sequence. As a classroom activity, I think it would be hard to implement without allowing it to be homework. It was incredibly hard for me to think of words that fit the sequence in the time alloted. Eventually I came up with words but it didn't equate to a good poem under the constraints. I can only imagine that students would have an extremely difficult time coming up with words for each piece of the sequence that fit into a smooth creation.

I will be using your twenty short lines activity in the future though. Even for myself as a writer, it is a great prompt to get me thinking of new ways to describe things. I think it would be invaluable in the classroom due to the heavy hitting nature of poetry.

Thank you Dan for presenting a unit that was fascinating. I have a feeling that your teaching presence and ideas will relate exceptionally well with your students. Good luck to you and Great Job!

kelly granito said...

Hey Dan,
I could tell that you've had experience teaching before. You seemed really relaxed and in-tune with the class, as was stated during our quick class critique at the end of the hour...

I personally enjoy slam poetry quite a bit, and I thought that the examples you linked for us on your blog were great introductory examples of slam poetry for those in the class who weren't familiar- I think you had a good sense of the tyipcal "angry" or "fired up" slam poet and your examples both embodied and also moved away from that. I think that was a great way to address slam poetry- by starting out with kindof a "what we're used to seeing" and "what we haven't seen yet" tool like that.

The activities were great, I really liked my final piece that I created from your prompts. I used it in my portfolio, as a matter of fact.

I do think that perhaps if the order of the two prompts had been switched, it may have been a little easier to get into the first one we'd done...I think going the route of dealing directly with grammar specifics (nouns/adverbs/prepositions/etc) is a little daunting at first. I think that's an error that I made with my indy teach as well...something I hadn't really thought about. Starting out with a more broad, creative prompt (like the second one) may have been more engaging...then disecting a stanza and getting down to the nitty gritty of slam poetry after that may have made more sense.

Regardless, I still enjoyed the prompts and I enjoyed your enthusiasm and knowledge of slam poetry. You presented it in a great way and I especially like that you showcased a slam poet addressing the issue of teaching- great relevance and a great way to connect each and every one of us to the concept of slam poetry, even if we hadn't felt connected before.

moosta said...


We accomplished so much during your teach! Good job going with the flow, being attuned to the needs of the class. I had a hard time writing with the poetry tape playing and was getting frustrated. You asked if people were okay with working with some audio playing, and only one person answered, and you went with it. I thought it would have been a better idea to get a few more responses before making a decision, but you asked again later, and Kelly and I had the opportunity to say that we concentrated better with quiet, so you gave us "quiet time." Thanks! Good use of imitation strategy, good job asking people if they needed help and giving prompts and ideas. I really appreciated that you changed deadlines based on your assessment of the class's progress - your demeanor was very relaxed and I (always the slow-working student) actually felt like I had time to complete what was asked of me at my own pace. I am very proud of what I wrote that day, and chose to include it in my portfolio.

The stuff on your blog was very interactive, as opposed to a handout. At first I didn't like it- AH! No outline! But by the end of the class period I was convinced. Yay for being a maverick!

I was wondering about any connections to rap music. Are there? It seems like there would be. I know you probably didn't have time to cover this because we were busy, busy, busy.

I think that you could have given us homework to think of a topic that made us angry/change that we wanted to see. That way we could have jumped into the writing assignment a little easier. I think I spent too much class time trying to think of a topic to write on. Even if I had come in with a few brainstormed that really would have helped.

It was good to include a performance opportunity but I have reservations about competition in class. How could we change this for a high school class so it is cooperative rather than competitive? I think Sharon may be on to something with her idea about writing as a group and choosing one performer.

Finally, you gave us a lot of freedom which was a good way to end the semester - we were ready for it! Oh heck, give yourself an A!

John Philip Roberts said...

Hey Dan,

I agree with Maureen and Meredith's comments, and would add that the powerpoint format worked very well.

One nice aspect of your lesson is its flexibility. By that I mean it could be tweaked to accomplish different objectives. For instance, since one of slam poetry's significant influences is hip-hop and the politics of society, try using spoken word to lead into more of a connection with 18th and 19th century minority writers (not to mention 20th century Black modernists).

Great job, and I appreciated the glimpse into a world I was heretofore unacquainted with.

brace22 said...


you have a very unique teaching style. I think we all can learn from you. It seems that you are trying to create a very holistic community in your classroom where you are the facilitator but your students have every opportunity to share their voice and make changes where needed. I think that it is important for us to remember that students should have choice in their education and they should also feel as though the classroom is theirs not ours. We are just the teachers we can not force information into their heads. You have modeled this behavior well.

I thoroughly enjoyed your indy teach. I think that slam poetry is wonderful and would have quite the impact in the classroom. It seems to have a huge place in the world today and I think students would really enjoying seeing this kind of representation of poetry. I know that I always thought of poetry as lovey dovey stuff that I would never be able to write and could careless about interpreting it. I have since gained a better apreciation of it.

You really gave a great presentation and brought a lot to the table. The video clips were very interesting. I was intrigued by them and it was a great hook. I think that everyone in the class was focusing their attention on them, I know I didn't want to stop watching them.

Thank you for choosing this book because I would not have had the opportunity to see what slam poetry is really about. I really appreciate learning more about it and how it could be used in a classroom.

Anthony said...

I really enjoyed your presence as a teacher. I could tell that you had great confidence with slam poetry as well as being in front of the class. I really liked how you used your blog. Not only did it probably save you time and money, it was extremely effective. I really like the ability of listening to a teacher speak and being able to follow along with reading. I thought your activities were great, and enjoyed the movie clips you brought for us to watch. Overall, I think you did a wonderful job.

Marla said...

Thanks for providing us with a very engaging presentation. I loved the way you "stepped out of the box". Although all of our individual teaches were on different subjects, we all basically followed the same structure. You showed us another way the blog can be utilized in the classroom,which was great. Since I am a "hand-out" type of person I went on your blog and printed everything out but its nice to know that if it gets lost I can just go on your blog.I think your activities were useful as well but I am still working on that "slam poetry"!

brian_schiller said...


There were multiple aspects of your presentation which I really enjoyed. For one, having it all on your blog was a great idea so that all the links, directions and examples were from one source. That made it very easy to go from an example, to a video, back to the example, re-read the directions, and so on. This leads me to my next aspect, the videos you provided were both entertaining and encouraging to me. I’ve seen slam poetry before on t.v., and it’s such a motivating form of speech these videos really got me wanting to create something cool.

As others have said your presence in front of the class was awesome. You have a very calm, careful way about you when you explain the directions or answer a question. I think it really makes people feel at ease.

My one critique is how you played the audio clips at the same time we were writing our pieces. This hindered me from a lot of writing, as I was interested in what the speaker was saying, and simply found myself listening and not writing. That being said, I still appreciate all the examples you provided.

Overall excellent job with the indy teach, you really provided us with a great concept of what slam poetry is and how it can provide inspiration and a sense of expression to the writer.