Friday, April 22, 2005

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Yesterday, the city celebrated National Poetry Month by encouraging everyone to keep a poem in their pocket and share it with others throughout the day. Besides Mayor Bloomberg and the teachers and students of NYC, I'm not sure how many people actually celebrated this event, but it was a really cool event at my school.

The kids had been studying poetry for a few weeks anyway. It's a unit they love. The eighth graders put together small books of their own poems and bound them in covers they decorated themselves. Their unit culminated in a "Poet's Cafe" during Communication Arts class yesterday.

The seventh graders celebrated by memorizing poems - their own or published work - and presenting them during classes throughout the day. Because I don't teach any major subjects to the 7th graders, I was not included in this, but one 7th grade boy from my Health class asked me on Wednesday if I was going to bring in a poem, so I did. I actually printed it & cut it out and carried it in my pocket all day. I brought "One Art" since I had been thinking about it anyway. At the beginning of health class, I read my poem. They chided me for not having it memorized, and asked for my interpretation (another part of the assignment) at the end, but they seemed to really like the poem. A couple of kids then volunteered to share their poems even though their classmates had already heard them earlier in the day.

I liked the experience so much - it is lovely to step out of one's subject area identity once in a while - that I shared the poem with my two eighth grade classes as well.

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