Dr. Crovitz

Video Assignment

16 March 2008

Video Clip Project

This activity is designed for my 10th grade, Sophomore Literature and Composition class. Prior to studying poetry this semester, we studied Media and Advertisements at the beginning of the semester. During that unit, I introduced many of the literary terms that I knew we would be studying in our poetry unit. I wanted to first introduce those terms in the Media unit because it gave the students a different are to apply those terms; it showed the students, at least my goal was to show the kids that literary devices are found in our everyday interactions. So the students are rather familiar with the terms that we are going over now in our poetry unit.

For this unit, I didn’t want to spend as much time on the definitions of these terms as much as working on reading and/or writing poetry. My main goal is for the students to understand that poetry is not just mushy, lovey-dubby stuff, and that poetry doesn’t have to have the super deep meanings, sentiment, or emotion for it to be good poetry. The students have read a lot of poems that are deep in heartfelt emotion and meaning, but I want them to understand that not all poems are necessarily meant to be understood, but rather, experienced. We discussed a lot about how poetry “achieves expressions that logic diminishes” (Byars, from the PowerPoint presentation entitled, “My Soul is a Ripe Tomato Made of Campbell’s Soup begging to be left alone…”). I wanted to present to the students videos that were rich in images and ones they might and might not understand. I picked “The Gold Machine Inside My Head” specifically for its surrealist nature and makeup. This video is very abstract so the sense of it might not get in the way of them discussing what they see. Because this video fades in a lot, I am hoping that the students will write in a way that will capture William’s fade-in technique that is found in “The Great Figure.”

            I’m expecting with the second video, “Hoppipolla,” by Sigur Ros, to get more emotional and logic based descriptions than from the other two videos. I told the students that I wanted them to imitate Imagist style poetry, but in my grading, I am going to be more lenient in that area. My main goal is to get them to write more objectively and less phenomenologically for this exercise, so if there is a greater weight of objectivity in their poem, then I will be happy.     

            To assist the students so they know exactly what I am looking for, I found an 11 second clip of a sunset. I will play and then go demonstrate what I expect from them. This is a quick example that won’t take up too much time and that they can use to see what I expect from them. I can play it, and on the white board, start writing my phrases and comments of it. When I did it the first time, this is what I wrote down:

                        Ball of yellow

                        And orange

                        Silhouette of red

                        Descending downward

                        Into Darkness

                        Slowly slumping

                        Drifting down


                        Nothing is left.

I necessarily memorize this, but I will write something similar up on the board as we watch the video over a couple of times. I will also have the students pull out their packets of Emily Dickinson and William’s poetry that they can use as an example of form.

            I have here three videos to show the students, and I am hoping that the students will write a poem for each of them just by watching them each once, and I had planned this to only take half of the class. But in analyzing this, and considering that nothing is as easy as one can conceptualize it to be, I might have to reduce the number of videos to two and reply the videos a couple of different times in order to give the students fair time to write their ideas. But I am not wanting them to comment on every little bit of the videos, just select images. I am anticipating for some students to have difficulty with this because it is an abstract assignment, which freaks out some students. I will be walking around as the videos are playing to help some of those who face difficulty with it.

            This activity covers the following GPS requirements:

a.       ELA10RL1 The student demonstrates comprehension by identifying evidence (i.e., examples of diction, imagery, point of view, figurative language, symbolism, plot events and main ideas) in a variety of texts representative of different genres (i.e., poetry, prose [short story, novel, essay, editorial, biography], and drama) and using this evidence as the basis for interpretation.

b.      ELA10RL4 The student employs a variety of writing genres to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of significant ideas in selected literary works. The student composes essays, narratives, poems, or technical documents.

c.       ELA10W4 The student practices both timed and process writing and, when applicable, uses the writing process to develop, revise, and evaluate writing.

d.      ELA10LSV1 The student participates in student-to-teacher, student-to-student, and group verbal interactions.

  Mr. Byars10th Literature and Composition 

The Gold Machine Inside My Head 

Is there a machine inside your head? You might not think so, but there is a creative device that is constantly turning in you consciousness. Today, we will interact with it. 

Last week, we studied sound devices and how they impact poetry. We discussed, analyzed, and identified different sound devices and some poetry that utilized sound devices. This week, we have been studying figurative language and imagery. We have been discussing how a writer can re-create an experience. We looked at some William Carlos William poetry and the method he went through in adapting his experiences onto paper.


Remember: Poetry is not just about expressing emotions, sentiment, and meaning, but it also recreates existence and moments in time.


We are going to watch three different videos today. Your assignment is to create Imagist style poems based on the videos we watch. Remember, Imagists focus on what is scene and experienced, not on what is understood or comprehended.


As you see the videos, literally record what you see. Complete sentences and clarity are not wanted or important; just be sure to capture the images and embed them into your poems.


When we finish, you will pick one poem to edit, re-work, and then present to your small-group members.

We will spend half of the class watching the videos, and the rest of the period working on our poems. You should take this time seriously to work on your poem.  Tomorrow, we will get into our writing groups and share with each other our poems and then turn them in to me.


***This poem could be one of the poems you choose to present at the Coffee House conclusion of the unit.

Each individual poem: 5 pts

Final re-worked poem: 10pts

Total activity value: 25 points

  Jeremiah Byars


I find it interesting when you find out that the kid that talks constantly throughout class, roles his or her eyes, complains about the work, and gives you looks like my class is the most boring class that has ever existed, has told someone how great of a teacher you are. It is fascinating… 

As is. I speak. The words hit the screen and retreat to the ground. Oh. I’m not to speak. For once, speaking won’t get me anywhere. I must press, caress, and excite the keys and pillows of my fingers and board.  My tongue blinks in its repression. My mouth tightens and wrinkles; but my fingers swing and jig through the buttons that plead me to press.  I tap and I stomp and my ears are soothed by the un-measured tempo of the heads that I lay my opening mind upon. Sway away into the soothing symphony of expression and communication. And let us all find ourselves.