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Horace Mann fifth-graders learned that poetry is more than lines rhyming; poetry tells a story.
And Thursday, the elementary students put what they’ve learned about poetry in motion. The fifth-grade classes hosted a Poetry Café, where students got an opportunity to recite some of the poems they wrote in class to their parents and peers.
“We’ve stepped out of the box,” fifth-grade teacher Erica Stuck said. “We always talk about poetry in the school year. This time, we’re doing something different.”
Stuck and her fellow fifth-grade teachers launched the Poetry Café idea to take a more hands-on approach to teaching poetry. This gave students a chance to tell their own stories through poetry.
In preparation for the program, the students spent time in the library. There were several approaches taken to writing their poetry.
One method was taking titles from the spine of books in the school library and putting them together to create a poem. Another was marking out words on a book page to create an idea. Students also wrote poems about their mothers and “who am I” poems, where the audience had to figure out what the poem described.
During the program, each student presented two of the poems they had written, despite having more ready to go. Some of the parents did present some of the additional poems their children had written.
Stuck even presented a few poems she had written for school. Poetry is something Stuck has been interested in since college.
For the Poetry Café, the students served refreshments to the adults and their peers. The refreshments included pretzel sticks, cookies and pink lemonade.
And no applause was allowed for any of the poem presentations. Instead, compliments were paid through snapping.
Stuck said the students had fun with the poetry lesson, and she was impressed by how well the Poetry Café went.
“It’s a more creative way for them to do it,” Stuck said.