ROUND ONE: 1-dent vs. 16-protean

r1f1 1-dent vs 16-protean

Click here for authlete instructions.

Voter Instructions:

  • The countdown at the bottom of each pairing indicates how much time is left to vote.
    • When voting closes, timer will disappear.
  • Read both poems as many times as you like.
  • Mark the poem you like best by clicking the circle next to its name.
  • Press the “Vote” button to record your vote.
  • Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered.
  • You can only vote once from a given IP address.
    • Classrooms should submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word.
  • Technical elements: meter, rhyme, form, shape, and other poetic standards.
  • Creativity: wordplay, imagery, unusual approach, etc.
  • Subtle elements that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Your overall response: emotional reaction such as admiration, tears, laughter, terror, or some indefinable feeling.

Here are the poems:

Long Ball!
by Michele Norman

At the end of the ninth score was tied.
And the team was a jittery mess.
I faked being brave with a swagger and strut.
Wore a scowl that was my battle dress.
With a nod to the fence stage was set.
Risked a swing at the pitch that was sent.
I opened my eyes as the ball sailed on high
And a car parked too close got a dent!


16-protean (PRO-tee-un)
Ms. Nimble
by Lori Degman

I go to a school that you might think is strange.
There aren’t any desks so they give us free range.

My teacher, Ms. Nimble, says fun things, like “Groovy!”,
and lets us play games, put on plays and watch movies.

And since dear Ms. Nimble is ever so protean
She’s teacher and principal and the custodian.


Public Vote (1-dent vs. 16-protean)
Final Results:
1-dent vs. 16-protean

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
1-dent vs. 16-protean
Classroom Vote (ID Required) - clone
Final Results:
1-dent vs. 16-protean

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  • Mother Streusel

    Another tough call…both so good!

  • Michele Norman


    Your poem is terrific. Three cheers for Ms. Nimble – and every teacher in every classroom – for wearing so many hats every day!

    • Ldegman

      Love your poem too, Michele! You knocked it out of the ballpark!!! I didn’t know you work for FableVision – very cool!

      • Michele Norman

        Thanks Lori! And yes, working with FableVision is very cool! Great people, great projects, great mission – to move the world to a better place!

        • Ldegman

          And you get to live in Boston!! I’m so jealous!!

  • Catherine

    These are both fabulous! You both have super twists at the end.

  • Diana Murray

    Love the narrative, Michele. Lori, that’s awesome!

  • Buffy Silverman

    Protean–now that’s a challenge! And you handled it with aplomb, Lori! Well done, both of you.

  • Linda Baie

    Both have terrific endings, and now I know the meaning of “protean”, too!

  • Michele Norman

    Thanks all! I, too, learned the definition of protean as a result of this (thanks Ed!) and how to pronounce it fluidly thanks to Lori’s poem!

  • Debbie B. LaCroix

    That’s why I don’t play baseball!

  • Damon Dean

    Michelle, I’ve seen that happen SO MANY TIMES! Loved your swagger on that take. Lori, this is a complete package! Would have loved an amoeba for a teacher! (Probably had some…HA!)

    • Michele Norman

      Me too Damon – worst time was as my son’s Little League coach! Eek.

  • Ldegman

    Thanks everyone! Michelle’s poem is great so now I’m nervous!! I could not say protean correctly until I thought of custodian, then it clicked. I doubt I’ll ever use it again :-)

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    Two great poems! Loved the use of both words…really fun!

  • Michele Norman

    Lori Degman – the end is near for one of us and here’s the truth – I have enjoyed every single minute of our match-up! Thank you for being such a great competitor!

    • Ldegman

      Same here, Michele! To be honest, I had a lot of friends who posted and tweeted about it (their choice – I didn’t ask) so I’m sure that boosted my public votes! I hope our paths will cross again in the kid-litosphere!!

  • Mother Streusel

    Congratulations Lori! That was a tough word! Great poem, Michelle!