Thursday, May 28, 2009

4 hours of Poetry Workshop

I have this problem. It's called volunteering.

I let my son's 7th grade Language Arts teacher know that I was a writer and that I was available to come into class to talk about poetry, if she was interested.

Well, she was interested.

What I forgot to take into account, was that she teaches 4 sections of 7th grade Language Arts and it wouldn't work unless I did the same lesson for all of them. Hence, the 4 hours of poetry workshop.

It was wonderful. The teacher has spent the past few weeks teaching the kids the language of poetry. I was able to come in and do a revision workshop because the students all understood the poetic tools of alteration, consonance, assonance, metaphor, simile, personification, meter, and rhyme. I could build on what they already knew and show them how to look at their work in progress with an eye toward refining and strengthening their poems.

7th grade is such an interesting year. The students, between 12 and 13, are at such widely divergent developmental levels. Some are clearly still 'kids', others just as clearly young adults. Yet they are still young enough to be willing to take a risk with writing and sharing poetry.

My experience reinforced what I have often said: teachers work hard, and teaching (especially in middle school) must be one of the most difficult jobs there is.

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