My poetry class – new course for me – is off to an amazing start. So, I’m sharing it all: what I did, how it went, what my poets had to say about it.

I’ve worked hard on opening days / weeks of all my courses because they set a tone, establish motifs, build community, and generate intrigue.

This one was no exception, and I need to get it down “on paper” for the record for me, and to share with you. And because – inevitably – there will be not-so-great days and I’ll want some good days to reflect on.

For now – on to the good times!

The Plans

Day 1

  • After a cheery hello, it’s this: “Raise your hands if there’s someone here you don’t know / know well.” As this is a mixed grade course, I am unsurprised all hands go up, but all hands go up in my same-grade courses, too.

  • Out into the hall we go, opposite one of those folks in two lines facing each other for an elementary-school-line-to-lunch-looking meet & greet. I keep this going for ~10 minutes by calling out random topics / questions when there are lulls in conversation.

  • I then inform them all they’ve just met their “Bulla Buddy” for the semester, and they will be each others’ sounding boards, champions, “I-was-out-what-did-I-miss” resources, and hey – a new friend. Smiles, laughs, shared pictures of pets, and awkward moments later, they exchange contact info and come back into the room.

  • Spread throughout are collections of poetry, mostly contemporary, and most brand-spanking-new. Students roam around, picking up books, reading a bit, looking for one that’s intriguing.

  • They then find their buddy, and read them the poem they’ve settled on, or the last one in their hands when I call for them to share.

  • Me: “Thank your buddy for the convos today, wish them well for second semester, and see you all tomorrow!”

Day 2

  • Questions & Inventions – I pulled out the things that make me happy: chart paper and sticky notes. I invited students to help me design our journey together with the following questions:
You might notice little hearts and stars – I invited students to read & comment on their peers’ notes – I should’ve expected these from our social media babies, right? Too cute.

The last question isn’t pictured, but asked: What do you hope to look back on and say “I’m proud I____ / I’m glad we ____ / I accomplished____.”

Students up, talking to each other, idea-storming, excitedly putting their hopes and dreams out there for me to use to build our course. So fun!

Stay tuned for Part II for Day 3’s “Dear Ms. B,” and me learning how it went and what they had to say about it.

I’ll leave you with this teaser: this teacher is one happy camper 🙂