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Monday was the third session of the new Incarcerated teens poetry class.

I worked myself up into a worry funk before class today. I settled down once I got there but I really hate all the angst I pile on myself ahead of time.

As usual they were enthusiastic in their greetings. A little tough to get down to work (one kid wanted to make sure he was getting some sort of extra credit by participating because he really didn't want to do it.) But once they got into it, they once again did great work. All but one of them remembered their books and the teacher took that one back to his room so he could get his. Some have worked ahead and picked out their ten words already. No one gave me a hard time when I asked them their word for the day. Some are decorating the pages and of course a couple are just writing the words down because they have to.

I had them do another poem based on their word from the previous visit. I gave them the option of another acrostic or one using the five senses. One student asked if he could do comparisons and I said yes. He did a great job. Tomorrow we'll have to do two word poems to get caught up with one word/one poem.

Then I read them, "Time Somebody Told Me" from Betsy Franco's book, THINGS I HAVE TO TELL YOU. We talked about it a bit. I'm not strong on facilitating discussions with non-talkers but a couple of them had thoughts about it. One of them said it made him feel like he could change. I read a free more free verse poems and then we talked about writing free verse. I put an example on the board of a paragraph and then went back and took out words and showed them how it could shape into a poem. Then they wrote.

This time they all (well almost all) wanted to share right away. They are great about getting up and coming up front and reading their work. I told them how many people are afraid of public speaking and how great it was that they all seemed to be fine with doing it.

The one thing I wish I had done differently was to give them a topic to write on. Poetry is still new enough to them that they spend time flounder for what to write about. Tomorrow I'll make sure to bring in a few topics to focus their thoughts.

My word for the day was AMAZING!
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 1 comment — Leave comment )
January 27th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC)
Good for you! Maybe have them brainstorm some possible topics and list them on the board, either as a group or in small groups. Teaching poetry is tough. It's as much about tapping into their feelings as putting pen to paper. It's fascinating to read about your experiences.

( 1 comment — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."
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