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Character Education

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Digital Learning

Poetry is the Song of Our Souls

She balanced her journal on her knees, focused in earnest contemplation of a totally blank page. "Can I answer with a poem?" she asked. "Of course," I answered, as others looked on, wondering what she was getting away with. A shorter answer, for sure, but one that could speak volumes about what the true answer from her heart might be. As I set out to begin this post, the first thought in my brain was that poetry is the song of our souls. Just as you can listen in to what a person holds in their heart as they sing, poetry provides the same window into the soul of the poet.

April is the month when you can really start to see the fruits of your yearlong labors as a teacher, the month the children all seem to bloom. As those beautiful blossoms begin to open, poetry written by our students gives us a clear view into the soul of each blossoming learner. There is no meandering with poetry. It is generally short and to the point. No over-description, no extraneous words. Poetry focuses its meaning and touches the reader or listener deep inside. A journal page, free-write, interactive notebook response, or draft written in poetic form, can never be a bad thing. If a fuller essay is required, the poem becomes a distillation of the essence of that essay. If any written response is required, a poem of course fills the bill. And, as a writing form that lends itself to combination with art, music, dance, or dramatic performance, poetry rules!

Some thoughts on weaving more poetry into your practice:

Poetry Performance
Lots of teachers use the "Poem in Your Pocket" model to share poetry, based on the classic children's poem by Beatrice Schenk deReniers. Here it is, in case you haven't heard it. Click on the pocket below to download a free resource to use on Poem in Your Pocket Day in April!

This is a fun way to introduce poetry performance to your class. Pull a poem that you love out of your own pocket and perform it. My favorite poem to perform is "Honey I Love" by Eloise Greenfield. It's  so worth memorizing. I can promise your kids will be spellbound when you recite it to them with all the feeling that is right there in the poem. It will inspire many of your students to memorize a favorite poem of their own.

Poetry Sharing
When kids are ready to perform, make the performances a part of Morning Meeting, or a part of any regular time in your day or week. I have always used a campfire setting to share our poems, whether ones we wrote ourselves, or ones we just love and want to perform. It's cozy in the fall and winter, and makes us think of camping in the spring and summer. Here's a blog post I wrote about
The Poetry Campfire .

Poetry Publishing
There are so many ways to combine art with the publishing of your poetry - a class quilt, banners, Poetry Slam book, on your website, and in portfolios. Here is a blog post I wrote with directions for turning some short poems into beautiful watercolor flowers:
Watercolor Flower Poetry

Portfolio Friendly
If your portfolios are a little short of writing pieces this year for any of the reasons that our challenging profession has presented, April is the perfect month to get that collection growing. April is poetry month! Poetry is short and doesn't have a lot hard and fast rules to follow. It flows from the heart. So take out those portfolios and see where an empty spot can be filled here and there with a beautiful song of the soul. 

Here's a post you might like: A Portfolio to Remember

Find my favorite POETRY RESOURCES by clicking here!

Happy April, teachers! I hope your souls and those of your students sing throughout the Spring!

I had soooo much fun talking about poetry with my teaching friends on our podcast, We Teach So Hard, Episode 32. Hope you'll tune in soon!


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