NatPoMo workshop day 2 is done. I did 5 40-minute workshops with sixth-graders today. Have I mentioned lately what an awesome job public school teachers do?
I had the most completely enjoyable and uplifting experience with these kids today. Sixth and surrounding grades are a great target because students are old enough to have some great creative moments, but haven't yet "learned" to hate poetry. If I can make it fun for them before it somehow becomes a chore, we may be on our way to expanding the future audience of poetry.
My goal whenever I do a class is to reach one student and leave them interested in writing and reading poetry after I leave. Imagine my glee when, as I was packing up, the principal stopped by and mentioned to me that a few students were actually discussing poetry at lunch. I could not possibly have asked for better.
But my goodness I'm pooped.
Here are some of the other poems I used in the workshop (other than the Malam poem I referenced below). I'm curious what other teaching poets think of these choices for this age group.
"How To Eat A Poem", Eve Merriam
"Steam Shovel", by Charles Malam
"The Garden Hose", by Beatrice Janosco (couldn't find a link that was true to the page)
"A Long Day of Rhyming", by Dean Koontz
"The First Dandelion", by Walt Whitman
I've used them several times now with some success, but I'm always open for ideas.