Top Teaching > Christy Crawford > Digital Poetry — Make Words Zoom and Fly Across the Room!

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Digital Poetry — Make Words Zoom and Fly Across the Room!

Bronx New Schoolers recite "Sugar Cookies" by Dominique and Sharlene.All you need is a computer, projector, and an Internet connection to give students the power to make their words larger than life. Digital poetry can turn a typical school poetry slam into a multimedia event. Read on to captivate the most tech-savvy wordsmiths, grab links for your interactive whiteboard, and partake in some 21st century word play.





Software and Online Tools for Digital Poets

PowerPoint, Animoto, and Keynote will allow your students to make words and images dance across a screen, but nothing beats Prezi. Think of Prezi ("The Zooming Presentation Editor") as PowerPoint on steroids. In seven easy steps, Prezi can be used to get kids passionate about poetry — passionate enough to practice their verse as if they were rock stars performing for their fans. Check out Anna rehearsing "Hope and Faith in Japan" and Jonathan and Jacob rehearsing "Firebird" for local poetry slams:


Step 1:

There are several college courses devoted to creating visual poetry. Show your students the work of digital collegiates at PBS or visit the BBC. Use the visual poems on these sites to inspire young digital natives to create presentations.

Step 2:

The YouTube generation loves a good video how-to. Show your students a Prezi tutorial. Every few minutes, in between students' "oohs" and "aahs," stop the video so they may paraphrase the steps. (Take a quick look at the tutorial below. It is simple and entertaining.)


Step 3:  You've got them hooked. Allow poetry teams to brainstorm topics and begin drafting. Or allow students to use Prezi to bring their favorite poem to life. Take a look at Natalie and Ella's digital version of a Georgia Heard poem. (Click the video's Play button. The Fullscreen and Autoplay features will appear when you roll the cursor over the word "More" on the bottom, right-hand corner of the video.) 



  • #1 Christy Crawford

    Monday, April 18, 2011 at 02:28 PM


    Check out for Prezi's new educator/student accounts. The accounts are FREE!

    My kids have been using their own e-mail accounts to sign up but I have a master list with each e-mail address and password. Sometimes managing so many accounts is tedious; however, it has been worth it. Fourth graders, fifth graders and their families have created numerous Prezis at home and over the summer. I have a few parents that used Prezi for work AFTER their children schooled them on the tool! When the child is able to become the teacher to her parents, it is totally worth the stress of managing more than 100 accounts!

  • #2 pamelamama

    Monday, April 11, 2011 at 01:22 PM

    I love prezi! How do you manage accounts for the students?

  • #3 Christy Crawford

    Tuesday, April 05, 2011 at 05:10 AM


    Wonderful! Make sure you check out for some flash poetry fun. Their interactive site is now one of my favorites.


  • #4 Elizabeth

    Monday, April 04, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing these websites. I will definately include some of these in my technology center!

  • #5 Christy Crawford

    Sunday, April 03, 2011 at 10:52 PM


    Fortune 500 companies present their ideas with amazing new media tools every day. It is time to put this same technology in the hands of children, to allow youth to express their thoughts and ideas in the same vibrant manner.

    And I agree-- e.e. cummings would have been rocking digital poetry!!!!!!

  • #6 Mitch Bleier

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 08:02 PM

    What an excellent follow-up to your last post.

    Alternative media that are made possible with technology make presenting our ideas more engaging and more meaningful. They don't replace the existing vehicles, but add dimension to the toolbox that writers and thinkers have at their disposal.

    Poets always have thought beyond the text--playing with sound, shape, and time in ways that other writers rarely do. The resources you've shared here add the possibility of motion (Prezi), hyperconnections (Tagxedo), and more.

    e.e. cummings would have loved this!

    Furthermore, these new media tools surely have possibilities that we can't even imagine...

    ...but our kids can, and together we will shape writing and learning and teaching.

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