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Poetry Made Easy

By Christy Crawford on April 16, 2013
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5

Inspire easy-flowing poetry and laughter with the Photo Booth app on Apple devices. Just one Mac computer or iPad is required! Use the built-in Photo Booth app to have students take photos of themselves, then apply the silly effects to create creatures worthy of poetry or prose. Read on for samples and simple steps to writing poetry that sprouts from special (effects) seeds.








Three Photo Booth-Inspired Poems

In three 60-minute periods, pairs of 2nd graders created the following poems using Photo Booth effects:


Mia and Amaya used the Mirror effect.



By Mia and Amaya


Four-headed and Eight-eyed

Eight Hands and Two Ponytails

Double Pillows. Double Phones.

Loving, licking double ice cream cones!

Arrogant, showing off, showing out

Because they think four heads

are better than one.

Double, double, double Dutch partners,

feeling cool because they think they look

twice as good.

Two-Headed Girls




Heaven and Sydney used the X-Ray effect.

Walking in the Grave!WALKING IN THE GRAVE!

By Heaven and Sydney


Creepy People

Disappearing bodies

Zombies with black teeth

They're angry!
They're hungry!

They're anxious!

They walk slow,

scaring kids,

taking over the world.




Walking in the Grave!




Sammy used the Kaleidoscope effect.

Nine-Mouth Death


By Sammy and Oumar


Nine Mouth Death!





Yet lazy, irresponsible, eating everything it sees.

Looking for food, lots of food.

Munching people with nine mouths.







Four Steps to Creating Photo Booth-Inspired Poems


Day 1: Inspire and Draft

1. Read a couple of crazy creature poems, such as Shel Silverstein's "The Loser" or "The Long-Haired Boy."  

2. Ask your students to imagine what Silverstein would have written if he had access to Photo Booth. Take a photo of yourself (or a willing student) to demonstrate the effects. We stuck to eight effects: Stretch, Squeeze, Light Tunnel, Kaleidoscope, X-Ray, Mirror, and Thermal Camera. 

3. Solicit your students' comments to draft a descriptive poem together. 

4. Pair up your young poets. Have them take photos, pick their best shot, and choose a working title before handing out index cards for drafting. Index cards, even large ones, are less intimidating for new writers than writing notebooks or lined paper.

5. Writing time!


Day 2: Revise

Have plenty of thesauruses or vocabulary charts ready with lists of seldom-used adjectives and adverbs. Reference those charts as the class revises the Photo Booth poem you all created together. Then send pairs of students to their desks to complete their revisions independently.



Day 3: Type, Insert, Recite

After brief editing conferences, have students use Keynote, PowerPoint, or Evernote to type their drafts, insert their photos, and rehearse reading their poetry.


Day 4: Project and Celebrate

Ready to share? Use an LCD projector to display finished projects on the wall. And arm your young poets with a microphone when they present their work.


For interactive poetry sites and more ideas to inspire young poets, check out my post Digital Poetry Make Words Zoom and Fly Across the Room and  Poetry in 140 Characters!


Comments (1)

We also use iPads in our district and I love the engaging idea of using the free photo booth to create poetry that the kids will be interested in! It is so important for students to take ownership of their creations and this allows them to become invested in their learning and excited about poetry; something my students usually don’t like very much. Teaching reading and writing includes exposing students to a variety of types of writing, like poetry, and the best way for them to learn is to write their own. Often, students have difficulty in coming up with ideas (fun ideas!) for writing their own poems and this allows them to really get excited and involved in the creation of their own unique poem. There are so many great benefits of iPad features, and this one would be so simple to use and very rewarding. Thanks for sharing!

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