You can listen to Judith Ortiz Cofer as she gives the assignment.
Listen to the audio.
"First of all, you're going to do an activity which is a riff on a word or words in the language of your upbringing, in the language of your dreams, in the language of love, or in the language of teaching of everyday life. What is something that calls you to language? And with the kids it will be a completely different language, in many cases. But the idea that they can model it on a poem-there are many poems out there-where poets take a word and they go with it. I mean it can be Ode on a Grecian Urn, you know. It can be a bull that makes you want to write a poem, or it can be the sound of a word.
"And so what I would like for you to do is to take ten minutes and give us a new way to see a word or words by riffing on it, by just letting it go and seeing what connotations it brings to your mind."