By: Olivia McKellar and Johna Meldau
National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996. “National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters,” (poets.org). Olivia McKellar, English Language Arts (ELA) Teacher, and Johna Meldau, Newcomer Teacher, created lessons in their ELA classes this month to celebrate influential poets and the art of poetry. Read their stories below.
During National Poetry Month, students are exploring the works of poets and writing poems themselves. We began by watching Amanda Gorman deliver her inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb. We listened for rhythm, rhyme, and the emotions we felt watching her. Form 3 then had the opportunity to visit 7 Stages Theatre for an all-day poetry workshop. The experts at 7 Stages guided students in engaging with Joy Harjo’s book of poems, An American Sunrise, and using certain lines from her poems as jumping off points for their own poems. Students left the workshop with wonderful pieces! Students have worked on biographical poems, I am from poems, and blackout poetry. We’ve also been lucky to have Theresa Davis of Alliance Theatre join us at GVP for some continuing poetry workshops. Through all of these different poetry lessons, we circle back to the same question: What feeling or idea do we want to express, and how can we express it in a poem? Students are thoughtful in their word choice, careful in their formatting, and proud when they read a completed piece to the class.
This month in Form 1 ELA we are learning about rhyming words. Rhyming words are words that sound similar at the end. We have been working hard to read and come up with our own rhyming pairs. We read famous poets like Maya Angelou, Shel Silverstein, Amanda Gorman, Langston Hughes, and others. We learned that poetry is a type of writing that makes you think, feel, and imagine something. This week, the girls will be illustrating their feelings while listening to poems. They created our poetry wall outside of the classroom to encourage “poetry for peace” and spread messages of peace in English and their native languages.