Saturday, June 7, 2014

Celebrating with Poetry!

Each week on Saturday 
bloggers celebrate at Ruth Ayres Writes
Won't you join us? 

The end of the school year feels like it's fast approaching and out of reach simultaneously! I have adrenaline spurts and immediately feel like I need to sleep for a week. Being in the moment is almost impossible...but I'm trying. Stopping and reflecting and celebrating like this helps a lot!

Personally I'm celebrating my endurance and follow through with getting the gas leak fixed in my house. Thing like this send a single girl like me for a loop! My usual response is to ignore the problem until I can't anymore. (I know, that's terrible...but it's the truth!) This time I called and called and insisted...I yelled a bit, I confess I cried out of frustration and exhaustion...but the bottom line: IT'S FIXED! Whew! I take that as a compliment.

I'm celebrating sixth grade poets! Poet Palooza is a celebration of our poetry writing. Jessica O'Brien and I collaborated on this celebration. Students wrote poetry for days, weeks, months! They selected a poem (or more) to perform. We watched spoken word poets like Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye as models for our performances. Here's one of the videos we watched repeatedly to see how we could do it:

(I just watched it again and I'm impressed at how many student poems were influenced and inspired by this poem.) 

So much preparation went into the day. Writing. Revising. Rehearsing. Revising. Rehearsing. Our students challenged themselves and went above and beyond my expectations. 

Here's one story that illustrates that: a girl in my morning class froze when I was introducing the idea of Poet Palooza. She asked if she could be absent that day. We talked a lot. She finally agreed to writing and performing a poem with a friend in class. Three days before the performance her friend announced that she may not be in school on Poet Palooza. Her immediate reaction was to say, "I don't have to do it, do I?" I asked her to think of  a solution and we would decide together. She found another student to stand in...just in case. AND she asked to perform another poem, by herself!  Good news, all the students were there and the performances were amazing!! Many parents showed up and we were inspired and exhausted at the end of the day. Here's Mrs. O'Brien first thing in the morning: 

Here are pictures of the 
library before our day began...

Guest books for parents to sign and leave words of encouragements for their poets!
Our stage, complete with twinkly lights!

We brought our grafitti walls and shared them with the audience!

Mrs. O'Brien checking the microphone.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures or video of the actual performance because I was introducing the poets. Hopefully, those will be coming soon! 

It was a perfect way to spend a Friday...


  1. This event sounds amazing! I can imagine that the idea of performing brought on some anxiety for many kids. You seem to have helped them find a way to be successful. What a great end of the year celebration of writing!

  2. I'm so impressed with all of this, Michelle. Finishing the year spectacularly, leaving the students with wonderful memories is such a gift to them. Wish I could have seen it, too! One colleague did some spoken word poetry this year at the end too, not quite like your celebration, but he said they loved every bit! Best wishes on your final days!

  3. I t sure looks like YOU and YOUR STUDENTS are also in YOUR happy place this week. What a wonderful, lasting memory you have shared.

  4. Wow! What an inspiring celebration, Michelle :-) I love poetry, but it is so hard to get students to see its beauty. This activity seems to have done that with your students. I may have to "borrow" your idea :-) ~ Sara

    1. The key is choice! Everyday I shared a mentor poem. We read. Analyzed it (a bit). And then I'd say, "I invite you to use a word, a phrase, a line, or the form to inspire your own beautiful words. As always you may write beautiful words about anything you like." They responded beautifully! (Adapted from an idea I heard from Penny Kittle.)

  5. I totally get the gas leak thing. Sometimes I wonder why the universe allows me to be a grown-up because things like that can stop me dead in my tracks. Good job for tackling it head on!

    And the poetry celebration is so cool! I especially love the stage with the twinkly lights. It is a small detail that is demonstrative of the care that went into all the other details: mentor texts, writing, writing, writing, revising, practicing, etc.

  6. We have Coffeehouse Poetry in our 2nd grade - it's so fun to see them perform. The kids all dress in black and snap their fingers in place of applause. It's a fun day - a great one to celebrate!
    Isn't being a home owner fun???

  7. Wow! Fantastic celebration! Love the name too!

  8. What a special event! Love the sparkly stage area. Impressive all around!

  9. I like how your daily poetry invitations led up to this fabulous event, allowing everyone to celebrate poetry.


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