Skype: a virtual visit

A Poetry Skype lesson

Skype poetry workshop

Zenobia Frost: A Virtual Visit

My learning intention for this lesson was to encourage students to make the connection between poetic techniques and to build awareness that the skill of reading and writing poetry can be learnt. Focusing on this, I designed an enjoyable, engaging activity using Skype.

In this year 8, poetry unit, we are participating in the Red Room’s Poetry Object ProjectDr Tamryn Bennett, the education manager, put me on to a Brisbane poet, Zenobia Frost. From there I organised a time with Zenobia to give a Skype workshop to our three, year 8, English classes.

Prior to the Skype session the classes explored Zenobia’s website and listened to her poems on Soundcloud. We focused on how she uses poetic devices and what questions would be relevant to ask her.

Each Skype session went for twenty minutes starting with Zenobia asking the students about their object poems and helping them decide on objects to write about. Zenobia then read her object poem and unpacked the poetic devices she used. To end the session, the students asked questions about poetry, about her experiences writing poems and why she writes poems.

This Skype ‘learning event’ engaged students in an authentic interaction with a poet in Brisbane. Skyping involved the students by participating in a new situation that challenged them and enhanced their learning in an interesting and innovative way. Having a video chat with a poet in another state expanded the classroom and made learning come alive.

Zenobia personalised each of the three sessions interacting with the students and by her generous offer for the students to send her their poems we have begun a collaboration that will extend into the future.

Student Reflections

The talk with Zenobia Frost was really cool and I really enjoyed it. I learnt that it is good to add a rhythm as she explained in when she showed us her red room poem. It had a rhythm of walking down the video store isle. Something that challenged my thinking was why she liked graveyards and how she uses them for her own enjoyment and also for her poems. I didn’t really consider that they held a lot of history. What surprised me about Zenobia is that she wrote humorous poems. I didn’t realise that she did this and it was interesting to find this out especially as I asked her the question myself. I think that is is good that we get to meet poets all around the world using Skype, because not so long ago this would have been impossible. Overall it was a great and educational experience and lots of fun!

I was surprised that Zenobia’s poetry actually had such deep hidden meanings. As I found it difficult to understand some bits of her imagery until she explained them, I think this surprise has led to my resolve. I think I should work on my imagery to make it more precise to avoid confusion when trying to understand poetry.

I like it (Skype) because that means you can see them and interact with them and it’s easier to understand them by looking at them rather than emailing them.

I think Skype was a very different way of doing, it definitely allowed myself to pay more attention. I think it is a very good idea and I would enjoy doing it in the future. 

Something which challenged my thinking about writing poetry would be when she (Zenobia) said that it is a good idea to use all the senses to make your reader think.



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  1. Thanks Ann, Zenobia and Wilderness School! The positive experiences of all involved is a testament to the potential for ICT to connect school communities and poets across the country. We look forward to reading the special object poems that surface from Year 8 students as a result of these sessions.

    • Yes, my students frequently surprise me. When given time to reflect, we are given the opportunity to see how deeply they are quietly thinking.

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