Poetry Rocks at Stearley Heights!

Poetry Rocks at Stearley Heights!

by Dr. P. J. Westbrook
Stripes Okinawa
Students at Stearley Heights Elementary School on Kadena Air Base experienced many forms of poetry during the month of April as they celebrated Poetry Month. Instruction in poetry skills was presented to all students during library lessons as students prepared for Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 28th.  Students gathered in the library all day long and they wore recycled jean pockets, specially-made by our wonderful parents, to hold their poetry for the occasion.  
Teachers were Poem Pilots and assisted groups of students as they presented their poetry.
Students were placed in groups composed of several grade levels for the poetry readings and they enjoyed various types of poetry presentations such as “I AM” poems, Acrostic poems, poems written about the origami animals they had created in their Host Nation classes, free-style poems, “Found” Poems, Haikus and, new this year, funny “False Apology” poems where students wrote about a time, real or not, when they apologized for something but really didn’t mean it!
In true Beatnik fashion, students snapped their fingers to show their appreciation of each poetry reading—continuing an American poetry tradition that has existed for over 65 years. 
For the next two weeks, student poetry will cover the hallway walls of the Information Center for all to view and the origami animals, and their matching poems, will be on display at the front of the Information Center. A big “Y’all Come” is extended to the Kadena community in the hope that the amazing student poems and origami creations, works of the kindergarten through 5th grade Stearley Heights students, can be enjoyed by everyone.
The day was a wonderful celebration of student work which allowed students to present works they had written to an audience as well as reciting the works of poets they loved. This was the third annual Poem in Your Pocket Day at SHES and it was a great experience due to the awesome poetry performances of the students.  This event could not have been held without the assistance of the teachers, who not only supported by helping their students complete their poems, but also assisted by facilitating the group poetry presentations. A BIG ROUND of “snaps” to all who participated!

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