WES Family Poetry Night 2021
What an exciting night this was for all my students and families! Our evening and presentation was led by student volunteers from my classroom. As you will see in the powerpoint attached, my students led their peers and parents through our evening of poetry and fun. Our speaker participants practiced their parts and prepared for this evening by practicing their lines over three days, taking their own specials time to ensure they got their parts ready for the evening. My part of the evening was mainly a facilitator. The students did all the work! Our evening began with a welcome to friends, family, and administrators. This was followed by an explanation of what to expect for our evening of learning about prose and verse poetry. We segued into how our digital classroom used digital desks during the latter part of the year, enriching our learning environment and allowing for our classroom to become more cohesive. After our introduction to digital desks, families were asked to find a desk (slide) that was vacant and to make it their own. Some families shared one slide, while others chose a slide per family member. All students, families, and administrators who wanted to participate were given a desk for their writing for the evening.
Two families wrote with their children on their slides and then shared their work with all of us in the audience. For those who were too shy to share, they were also given the option to record their writing in a spoken word FlipGrid, which was available to them on each of their desks. One of my students had a sibling in kindergarten who wrote a verse poetry piece and then shared it with the audience. later, the mom send me an email thanking me for the opportunity of allowing her daughter read her poetry to 5th graders. She felt like a big kid and was so proud! She was even more excited to receive her achievement award in recognition of her “Brave Voice in Poetry.” Each of the participants that evening also received participation certificates, journals, pens, and a free kids meal to Panda Express. One parent joined her son in writing about cats, his favorite animal, and then shared the poem with the audience. The attached powerpoint showcases the work of the students, families, and even administrators who participated in our evening of poetry. It was definitely a fun event!
My instructional coach really enjoyed the evening and sent me an email later letting me know that this may have to be an annual event now. She really enjoyed how the students were able to authenticate their learning by being active participants in their own learning. Additionally, she loved the idea of digital desks and could see how it helped students collaborate in a digital classroom. Lastly, she mentioned that adding the verse and prose differentiation was a really good formative assessment for the students as well. My counselor and Principal were also present and enjoyed the “poetry on the fly” as they had not written poetry in a while. My principal said a few words to the students commending them on their great presentation and work. She noticed that we as a class had made really good connections during the year by the way we all seemed to “know” about each others’ families and lives as we talked to one another.
For those families and students who were unable to attend our evening of poetry, I shared the Google presentation as well as the FlipGrid link for them to add their own poetry. I have two additional students who have added their poetry so far. My colleague who was also present, helped start our evening by sharing her poetry to break the ice. I was definitely glad that she did that to encourage others to begin sharing. I learned a lot from this family engagement night and know that it was enjoyed by all. Most of all I was proud of my students for leading the whole evening and participating with their families. I think it was a great opportunity for public speaking for my students, an opportunity for some to step out of their comfort zone. I definitely think I would do this project again, especially if I had the supporting funds to do so. Having the journals, pens, and free Kids meals was definitely a draw for some. Next year, I think I would try to present this earlier in the year where I would not feel so rushed at the end of the year.
My students learned a lot about prose and verse poetry and enjoyed sharing their writing with their peers during class the following day. In addition to the FlipGrid, students also showcased their writing on tow different Padlets that were shared with families that evening. My hope was that all would be inspired by students’ poetry and want to add their own to our padlet. At the end of the evening, I found that I have some great poets in the making.