They think poetry is boring. And hard. They do not think it is beautiful, bold, or bursting with meaning. For the past two weeks, I have tried to change that for my PreAP English I and 2 students.
I copied a variety of poems. Some long. Some short. Some richly complex. Some easy. We glued them in our notebooks, and we took our time reading them each day. Sometimes we wrote responses. Sometimes we just read and talked. They liked this talking best.
We watched some spoken word poets share their love of language in moving poems they shared with the world. This one by a young poet at a school across town helped students see hat imagery creates emotion. This one by Sarah Kay helped students see that repetition does more than just “emphasize” a point. And this one by Shane Koyczan that we’d watched at the beginning of the year and watched again helped students see that poems — more than anything else — allow us to express the ache that can eat our souls if we don’t release it.
I heard over and over again as we read, discussed, and listened: “Oh, I get it.”
Lights of understanding twinkled over teenage heads.
I learned a valuable lesson (or two). I must integrate more poetry throughout my lessons ALL YEAR LONG. My students and I both enjoyed it. Go figure.