We had an event at our elementary school Wednesday evening called Poetry Under the Stars. It was the first year for this event, but I think it will be back in the future. At least I hope so.
Our phenomenal powerhouse of a PTA president approached me with the idea of hosting this event, and she asked for my thoughts. I’m not shy about putting in my two cents, and I do love kids and poetry, so I shared my thoughts and agreed to help out.
A flyer went home asking kids to a submit a poem if they would like to read at the event. The response was overwhelming. Old favorites showed up (there was plenty of Shel Silverstein shared) and original poetry by our own students was submitted. We took them all.
The kids arrived at school in the evening with their families and blankets and fortified themselves with hot cocoa and cookies. Then they entered the “Poetry Pit” for the event. One of the very few benefits of having a school that was built in 1975 is that there are giant concrete “pits” with stair-step levels that allow access to the lower level classroom of our split-level school.
Okay, so maybe they aren’t a benefit most of the time, but for our event the pit was transformed. A microphone was hooked up, and beautiful starlight illuminated the back wall, which displayed some cool fifth grade artwork.
One by one our little poetry buffs made their way to me and the mic and read their poems for the appreciative audience. Even a few of our kindergarteners shared poems, and they were adorable.
I have to tell you, in my role as MC I got to stand near every kid as they read, and during the entire event I think there were only three mispronunciations. Incredible. Those kids were prepared and confident!
In all we had kids sharing poetry for nearly an hour. Last I heard there were fifty-one kids who read a poem. Fifty-one kids showing up for literacy, and all of them brought along people who cared about them. What an amazing thing. What a wonderful thing. What a community commitment to our kids.
Say what you will about testing and common core and “kids today,” but events like this one remind me that I still have the best job in the world.