Students at Heritage Middle School rhymed, laughed and showed their creative sides for peers, parents and guests at the Poetry Café.
Teachers set up the café in the library at the school for student readings on Thursday, Dec. 9. The café was patterned after a “beatnik” hangout from the 1960s. The readings in the café are the culmination of a poetry unit and something the students always enjoy, said literacy coordinator Rebecca Wolfenbarger.
Wolfenbarger said the students had to write at least seven poems. Instead of coffee, the students got hot chocolate and treats brought in by parents and teachers. They each took a turn standing at a podium to read their own poems as students and parents watched.
Language arts teacher Sharon Trahan said that in addition to writing their own poetry, the students each had to research a poet, create a poster detailing the poet and his/her work and present it to the class.
Trahan said this is the fourth year the seventh grade students have done this activity. “Every student participated. It’s tough for some and easy for others. It’s amazing. A lot talk about feelings and some talk about what is happening in their lives and some get emotions out. They’re really nervous initially, but they become more confident quickly,” she said.
Wolfenbarger said some of the students were nervous because it was the first time they stood in front of a group and spoke into a microphone. “But once they start, they get into it,” she said. “The real good thing about this is you get a lot of kids who are not athletes or into anything else, and they get the chance to perform for their parents and classmates to come see them. That’s so important.”
Wolfenbarger agreed. “It gives the students the chance to shine a little bit,” she said.