Third Annual SHES Poetry Jam is Snappy!

by Stearley Heights Elementary School
Stripes Okinawa

Stearley Heights Elementary School Roving Reporters had a story to cover this week.  It was unusual; it wasn’t politics, the weather, it wasn’t sports, it wasn’t crime—it was POETRY!!!  April is Poetry Month and SHES held their 3rd Annual Poem in Your Pocket Poetry Jam on March 30th in order for the poetry to be on display throughout the month of April. 

Dr. Westbrook (aka The Librarian) began poetry instruction with all grade levels in February.  She has found that students love to write poems, especially when they find out that all the grammar rules their teachers make them use can be thrown out the window when writing poetry!  Kindergarteners wrote and illustrated “I Am…” poems. 1st and 2nd graders worked with their Host Nation teachers to create origami and then wrote poems about one of their origami animals. Students in grades 3-5 were introduced to many types of poetry through the use of flip-books which presented 7 types of poetry.  In addition, 3rd graders focused on haiku’s and shape poems, 4th graders focused on shape and found poems, and 5th graders fabricated false apology poems…or were they real?

SHES students found out that poetry has been written and performed for over a thousand years.  During the Medieval Ages, poetry readings were held which would often end with poetry jousts; the poets would choose a person from the audience to insult through a poem they made up on the spot.  Poetry became less popular for a while, but made a huge comeback in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s due to the beatniks.  They held poetry jams but had problems finding a place to perform due to the noise their clapping made after each poetry performance.  They solved this problem by snapping their fingers to show their appreciation and the students at SHES continue this tradition by snapping their fingers three times following each performance (or using clappers if their “snappers” don’t work yet) and they wear pockets to highlight that it is Poem in Your Pocket Day.

On Thursday, class groups gathered in the library for the poetry jams.  Students were sorted into mixed-age groups to perform their poems.  Older students helped the younger students read their poems. As Ciara explained, “…a little girl needed help and I helped without thinking.  I felt happy when I helped her.”  Other students interviewed provided insights into the experience.  Isaac “liked poetry because it rhymes.”  Andrew enjoyed the poems because they were “unique”.  Harrison mentioned that, “All of the poems were nice.”  Jadon found he “likes poetry because it’s fun!”  Eva discovered that “poetry has a lot of information in it.”  Lorenzo felt, “It was a good idea to share the poems we all made.”  Poetry truly rocked at SHES.

Roving Reporters covered the events of the day, interviewed participants and took photos.  They filed their assignments and some were able to meet over Spring Break to write the story so it could be filed for publication.  

The community is invited to drop by and view the incredible student works which will be on display in front of the Information Center/Library the entire month of April.

Lex, Liam, Ryann, Kathryn, Jake, Jackson, Emma, Layla, Ciara, Charisse and Blaize all contributed to this story.

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