#LoC; #PromotingPoetry #HangingPoemsInCherryTrees #AprilNationalPoetryMonth
Washington/Canadian-Media: Rebecca Newland, a Fairfax County Public Schools Librarian and former Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress (LoC) in one of her earliest Teacher’s Corner posts in 2015 wrote about short poetry activities to use at the beginning of class, also sometimes referred to as “bell-ringers" with an aim to promote engagement with poetry among students and illustrated the post with "Hanging poems in cherry trees.”
Rebecca Freeland. Image credit: LinkedIn
While recently revisiting that post she was once again inspired by the idea of poems in trees, which she interpreted as surrounding students with poetry in both expected and unexpected places waiting for them to discover.
Hanging poems on a cherry tree. Woodblock print by Toyonobu Ishikawa, 1741. Image credit: Library of Congress
In order to make students consider poetry as a way to connect with others and a means of self-expression and promote their engagement, Rebecca said that it is essential for the students to have more opportunities to see, hear, and read poetry regularly.
Some possibilities to promote poetry to students, continued Rebecca include teaming with the librarian to create a display of poetry books and novels in verse and placing these displays in areas other than the library such as a main hallway display case, a table in the cafeteria, or on a counter in the main office, create a bulletin board of covers in a hallway with arrows pointing toward the library where books can be found, post the favorite poems of the teacher outside classroom doors for students to see as they enter or for passersby, host a class or school-wide poetry cafe, read a poem at the beginning of every class and provide a visual of the poem for students who prefer to read and listen at the same time, encouraging students to choose a short poem a day to be read during the morning announcements. Engaging options can be found at Poetry 180 as well as the Poetry Foundation which posts a Poem of the Day, to put a poem at the end of community-wide emails for which classes can take turns choosing poems for inclusion; the poems could reflect a monthly theme or correspond to special calendar days with a link to discussion prompts for families who would like to read and engage with these poems at home.
Rebecca Concluded by saying that these and other possibilities should be explored throughout the school year as well as during National Poetry Month in April.