From PenPal to Poet
Many students fear poetry because they expect it to to be stiff or confusing, not meant for mortal eyes. However, teachers can break down those preconceptions by sharing thought provoking poems that cover culturally relevant topics. Poetry can be puzzling at first, but it can also be personal, purposeful, provocative, anything but pointless.
This week, we're excited to celebrate eight American students who recently participated in A World of Poetry as PenPals of the Week: Olivia from Missouri, Kate from Ohio, and Taryn, Rianne, Sarah, Genevieve, Kayla, and Claire from Virginia. They read poems from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. They discussed writing styles, cross-cultural themes, and shared original poems with each other. Check out some original pen pal poems below!
Many poems celebrated humanity; students wrote about themselves, the “lesser known,” and human potential.
Where am I from? This is where I am from
Ode to the Lesser Known
PenPals also described the joys and pains of life in their poems. Poetry is a great medium to communicate complex emotions and experiences because it is less structured than prose.
The “Game of Life”
PenPals wrote poems to mourn and memorialize lost loved ones. Although the stories are unique, they communicate emotions that many people can empathize with.
PenPals, thank you for writing from the heart! One of the most difficult steps to writing poetry is getting started. Once students get going, they discover their voices and develop writing styles that best reflect their emotions and ideas. Students continue to learn by sharing their work, and they develop empathy by reading work written by their peers. Like the famous poets featured in the project, PenPals have unique backgrounds and writing styles, which only enrich the collaborative learning experience.
“My favorite part of the PenPal exchange was getting to know other people from all over and being able to see their style of writing. Their own personality comes from each response, and I can see it. For once I wanted to work on the weekends to get on PenPal Schools!” – Olivia M from Missouri
Want your students to fall in love with poetry and their own work? Enroll your class in A World of Poetry.
4/5/2018 11:11:17 am
I am greatly impressed with the deep insight shown in these poems. I am also greatly heartened and look forward to the future with a lightened heart. Maybe the world isn't too jaded after all.
Wow! These young writers speak volumes to the concepts of humanity and human potential. Their responses are personal and engulfed in emotion. For students to be writing such deep and poignant poems, they must have felt very comfortable with their PenPals to do such a task!
4/5/2018 02:27:55 pm
I am so proud of these young people for putting themselves out there to be better people and see the good in the world. Olivia it has been a pleasure to be your English teacher this year. Keep writing!
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