Poetry. Being a kid, the word brings up a knee-jerk reaction – yuck. Any other year, or maybe even at the beginning of this year, I would have rolled my eyes at anyone who tried to preach to me about poetry. But now, I would listen reverently. Because poetry has undergone a transformation this year. Well, at least, it has for me. Poetry has gone from “A is for Apples, B is for Baseball” to something unique that expresses your feelings, whether you like it or not. Now even poetry that rhymes, in my opinion, sounds cheesy. I promise that I’ll never write another “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” card for my mom on Mother’s Day (which I’ve done for he past 6 or 7 years). Now I would write something much deeper in meaning and hope she doesn’t make me read it out loud to my whole family. Because no matter how much it embarrasses you, and trust me, I’ve been pretty embarrassed, poetry is good for the soul. Like laughter. Or chocolate. And I think that for this class in Room 118, poetry will never be the same again.
Reg. retail: $9.99 (sale for the authors at $5.00 until November 1)
For eight years, I thought I was teaching poetry. In reality, I was teaching students the various forms of poetry: Haiku, Limerick, Cinquain. We had fun, but for the most part, the poetry was routine, flat, heartless. About four years ago, I discovered free verse poetry. I let go of form and helped guide students to write about their dreams, fears, passions, and questions. And just like that, poetry became my favorite unit to teach. Not only did students produce vivid, honest writing, but it helped strengthen our community. We learned that the classroom was a safe place to write about whatever was on our minds. We learned to listen and we found out more about one another. Poetry can lead to self-discovery, and year after year, I’m amazed at what the kids produce. As one student said, poetry really is Wonder Ink.
All proceeds from the sale of this book are going to be used to purchase books for libraries in the State College Area School District.