By Suzanne Schmidt
Parents and grandparents snapped their fingers to show their appreciation at the poetry café at Veterans Elementary School in Wesley Chapel May 7.
Three second-grade teachers and a third-grade teacher in the all-star squadron pod recreated a poetry café atmosphere with lemonade and snacks instead of coffee.
Rachell Brown, second-grade teacher in the all-star pod, said she thinks the poetry café went so well she would like for it to be an annual event.
“April is poetry month, so that is why we taught them poetry,” Brown said. “We just wanted the parents to come in and hear their poetry, but now we decided it should be an annual event. The kids presented their favorite poems. Most kids didn’t like poetry but when they started writing it, they started loving it.”
Students learned different kinds of poetry, such as shape poetry and haiku’s.
Jennifer Roberts, support facilitation teacher, said she enjoyed hearing the students’ poetry.
“Teaching children how to write poetry allows them to be creative and think outside of the typical essay writing,” Roberts said. “It allows them to be creative with whatever they are writing whether it is a three-line haiku or a five senses poem. It also allows us to reach all learning styles, especially those with learning disabilities.”
Madilyn Corbin, 8, is in Brown’s class. She was excited to read her poem “I Love You the Purplest” to her mom, Ravi DeSantis, since she wrote the poem for her.
“I learned I can write stuff,” Corbin said. “It is fun because you can make it anything you like. I like that you can be silly and it doesn’t matter. You just put it in your own words and have fun.”
Watching her daughter read a poem about how much she loves her almost brought her to tears, while hearing a poem about Madilyn’s 10-month-old little brother, Giovanni, made her laugh.
“She read a lot of poems recently,” Corbin said. “I think she likes them more now. She has such a great teacher. She (Brown) did such an amazing job.”
Taylor McKinney, 7, is also in Brown’s class. She read her poems titled “Listen to the Wind” and “I Love You the Orangest” to her grandparents Mike and Sondra McKinney of Wesley Chapel.
“I like poetry, it makes it easy to express myself,” McKinney said. “Writing poetry makes it easy for people to learn the real you.”
Sondra and Mike both said they are impressed with the quality of the education Taylor and her twin sister Kendall are getting.
“We are very proud of her and the kind of student and kind of little girl she is,” Sondra McKinney said. “We are so happy the school is right here so we can be involved.”
Venus Colon, second-grade teacher, said she also learned something from her students’ poetry.
“My students absolutely loved learning about all the different types of poems and realized poetry wasn’t boring but a channel to express their inner most feelings,” Colon said. “Over the past month, I could see their yearning to learn and experience more. I have learned more about my students through this poetry unit that I may not have had the opportunity to learn otherwise.”
Sophia Mitchell, 8, is a student in Colon’s class.
“It was fun and I loved getting to read to my mom,” Mitchell said. “I had never heard of some of the types of poems before. It was interesting to read different types of poetry.”
Andrea Mitchell enjoyed reading some of the poems her daughter wrote. Many of the poems Sophia wrote were about her favorite thing to do, soccer.
“It is nice seeing her express herself,” Andrea Mitchell said. “Hopefully this will improve her writing skills and help her to express herself. I think it is hilarious; the things she said she is scared of are mean people and not having soccer. It is funny to see what kids come up with when they are allowed to say whatever they want.”
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