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Exercise: Create Your Own "Digital Poetry"

For those who can't attend our in-person workshops, please feel free to use the instructions below to create your very own "digital poetry" kit..!

Download our Kids' "Digital Poetry" word list #1
  • Inkjet or laser printer
  • Printable magnet sheets (available at office supply stores; Avery 3270 is one style)
  • Pair of scissors -- or, use an X-acto knife and ruler
  • Magnetic surface -- try the refrigerator!
  • Your personalized word list. (See step 1)
  • Our wordlist1.doc document (MS Word), which will serve as a template.
Magnetic poetry kits are a popular gift item you can pick up at stationery or bookstores. But for even more fun, wouldn't it be great to have your own poetry kit that contained words that mean something special to you? This exercise lets you create customized "digital poetry" kits you can make for yourself or those you care about:
  1. Type up your custom word list, one term per line, in a new MS Word document. Typing the words in alphabetical order is a good way to keep track of which words or terms you've already used.

    Some good suggestions for terms include:
    • Names of family members, friends, and pets
    • Your favorites things (e.g., favorite foods, bands, TV shows, books, colors, toys) and activities (e.g., sports, hobbies, school subjects)
    • Brand names that have a special meaning to you
    • Terms from inside jokes

  2. Now you're ready to merge your list of terms with the GenuineClass word list template. Open up the wordlist1.doc file and save it under another name.
  3. Note how each row of text contains a series of words in alphabetical order. Place your cursor within the document and delete all of the words you don't want in your "digital poetry" kit. You may wish to keep some of the common verbs, pronouns, and conjunctions. Now copy and paste your custom terms on any line where there is sufficient extra space. Separate your terms with " | " -- a space followed by the "|" character, followed by another space. We are using a fixed-width font for this template, so each character typed takes up the same amount of space.
  4. If you'd like to print out larger individual magnets, you can change the point size and line spacing for the poetry terms by clicking on Word's Format menu and choosing the Font or Paragraph submenu items. Please note, though, that you may print out fewer terms per sheet this way. The formatting included in the wordlist1.doc template lets you print about 400 words per sheet.

  5. To avoid wasting paper, use plain copier paper to print out a trial page before using the actual magnet sheets.

  6. When you're satisfied with your trial printouts, load your printer with a magnet sheet and print each poetry word list on an individual sheet. Our wordlist1.doc template uses margins of .5-inch on all four sides.
  7. After you've printed your poetry sheet, use a pair of scissors -- or, for straighter edges, an X-acto knife and a ruler -- to cut first the individual lines of poetry and then the individual terms.

  8. Congratulations -- you're done! If you're giving the kit as a gift, you'll want to package the terms in a small tin or affixed to a small magnetic surface. If your custom poetry is for your own or your family's use, just clear a space on the fridge and post your first messages! Leave the extra words within reach for other family members to add their followups!
Was this exercise helpful? Tell us what you think!