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Driving Innovation - How Your Support Makes A Difference

"This digi-poem assignment drives students to hone their 21st century digital literacy skills as they gain a deeper understanding of the composition process. Through this innovative education program, my students combine fun with fundamentals."

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Driving Innovation - How Your Support Makes A Difference

Through the support of an NEA Foundation Learning and Leadership grant, Joe Pizzo, an English educator at Black River Middle School in Chester, New Jersey developed a project that’s still engaging students years later. He describes it as follows:

"After my students read Lois Lowry’s The Giver, we talk about the importance of color at the end of the novel. Students write a poem featuring one or more colors, which they share with their classmates for peer editing before developing a final draft.

However, their assignment is not yet finished. Then, my students take their text and transform it into digi-poems: writing enhanced with multimedia content to highlight the color and images in their poetry.

This digi-poem assignment drives students to hone their 21st century digital literacy skills as they gain a deeper understanding of the composition process. Through this innovative education program, my students combine fun with fundamentals.

I often have to encourage them to keep their focus narrowed as they explore with enthusiasm the many technology enhancements available to them. They’ve used iMovies, Canva posters, Google Slides, Screencastify slides with voice, and more. The result: high-quality products developed by students across the skill-level spectrum.

The students enjoy this project so much that discipline problems are rare. At the end of the school year, I already had a few incoming seventh graders ask me about the digi-poem project and tell me that they couldn't wait to get started. Their words are definitely music to the ears of this 42-year veteran teacher!"

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