Sunday, May 26, 2013

Program: Poetry Month

As I'm sure you know, April is National Poetry Month. I wanted to celebrate with a tween program, so I planned something simple. Unfortunately, I had the lowest attendance number I've ever had for a program. I was surprised and not surprised at the same time - surprised because I remember wanting to be a writer as a kid (and well into my teens), so I assumed that a lot of kids felt this way, and not surprised because, let's be honest, "Poetry Month" does not sound as cool as "Mythological Worlds."

One of my examples:
How to grow up and rule the world
The quest begins
Captain Awesome to the rescue
racing the moon.
Extra credit:
Snow in summer
I focused on two different kinds of poetry that I've been wanting to try in programming: book spine poetry and blackout poetry. For the book spine poetry, I pulled a cart of books that I thought had interesting titles and let the kids construct their poems from these. To me, it seemed the easiest way to provide access to a number of books without making a nightmare mess that the pages or I would end up being responsible for reshelving. It seemed like the best solution in my mind, but I noticed that certain titles appeared in nearly every poem the kids constructed. Does this mean that it's just a really awesome or useful title? Or just that the kids had limited access to titles they might have liked better? How do other people handle book spine poetry and the inevitable cartloads of books?
Some of my examples of blackout poetry
(and my creepy shadow).
All made with pages from Poppy by Avi.
As for the blackout poetry, we've done a significant amount of weeding here lately, as well as seeing a lot of damaged books with broken spines/pages falling out. I kept the innards of these books with this project in mind. The kids could pick any page they wanted and simply blacked out (I had markers and crayons, and they didn't have to use black) all the words they didn't want to be part of their poetry. I had examples from the staff so they could get an idea of what it was supposed to look like, but they didn't really need any guidance.

Like I said, I had my lowest attendance yet for this program, which is unfortunate because I think both exercises are really cool. I am planning another creative writing program for the summer, knowing that it will probably be less popular than my other programs but also that I might need a break by that point. I think I'm going to re-use the book spine and blackout poetry for that program, as well as a few other ideas I've had. Do you do creative writing programs with your tweens? Are they well-attended? What exercises do you share?

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