Before I started blogging, I did a lot of blog reading. As I teacher of language arts, I understood the importance of mentor texts (or perhaps I should say mentor blogs). Before I began creating my own blog, I knew I needed to see quality examples of what I wanted to produce.
During this process, I stumbled upon the blog A Fullness in Brevity by Adam Byatt. This was the first blog that I had explored that was not health/food related. I felt like it was fate. The first post I saw was all about “Post It Note Poetry”. I was instantly enthralled and excited. The wheels started spinning…I had just landed my dream job-middle school language arts (you think I kid, but I kid you not!)-and I knew this was an activity I wanted to incorporate into my classroom.
You see, teachers by nature, are control freaks. (Don’t tell one that I told you this.) They tend to prefer order and routine. Uncontrolled chaos (and if you’re a teacher you know the difference between controlled chaos and uncontrolled chaos) makes them feel extremely anxious. Organized chaos…doable. And what you really need to know, is when I say “they”, well, I really mean “me”. Anyway…
At the beginning of the school year, I introduced Adam’s Post It Note Poetry. (I respectfully renamed it “Sticky Note Poetry”, as kids gave me a blank stare when I said “Post It Note”).
Now, each day when they explode (yes, explode) into the classroom, they settle in while I take attendance and deal with the little issues that arise, by writing sticky note poetry.
I was amazed at the excitement the sticky note poetry created. Students who I would have never expected to participate in poetry writing (at least not by their own free will, anyway) were waving their hands begging for me to let them share what they created. This includes students with autism, ADD, ADHD, and students with other special needs.
Could it have been that since a “grade” was not part of the experience they felt more freedom to write? In this instance, creativity trumped spelling and structure. Now, hear me…I am not throwing spelling, or poetry structure out the door…I am just saving it for when I formally teach poetry. For now, I just want the kids to enjoy the process of creating poems, and to develop a love and appreciation for the written word.
Thank you, Adam for sticky note poetry! You are helping me create classrooms of poetry lovers!