by Rachel Kharfen. Grade 3 SHACHARIT Educator
I am constantly amazed at how the majority of kids are to open to trying new things in school. In reality, lets face it, they kind of have to be. That’s what school is all about: trying and learning new things. But it’s not easy having to learn new things every day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could do it!
In my experience as a public school teacher for over 25 years, the majority of kids, just jump right in and try. That applies to SHACHARIT as well. The challenge, of course, is that some assignments are much more difficult for some kids than others.
Writing, though, always seems to be difficult for kids. Understandably. To write, you need to use many skills in order to communicate your ideas successfully. And of all the types of writing, poetry seems to challenge kids the most. What do I write about? How do I write it? How do I say what I want to say? These are the main questions that kids have when attempting to write poetry.
During a four week chug I led with fifth and sixth grade students about Anne Frank, the kids wrote poetry. Each student was given a possible theme idea for their poem, structure ideas for their poem (no structures were required - I believe that rhyming inhibits ideas), and participated in a word association activity that generated unique lists of at least thirty words for each student. After this was completed, the kids found quiet places to write their poems. The results are striking. The poems wrestle with war, being trapped, fear, hatred, freedoms, and memories. Some are simple. Others more complex.
These poems are being typed and will be posted on the mural the group is creating about Anne Frank (still to be completed), across from room 21.
But to give you a taste… here are some lines…
“I stare out the window, hoping, praying that the gloom will lift.
The serene home - perpetual winter.
We live in silence.
Sanity is found in togetherness.”
“I sit in my room.
With only the flicker
of the candle light
fading around me.”
“There are times when I long for the sky.
I have this memory that just keeps floating back to me.
About four years of age, I stared into the sunlight,
Straight through the thin periwinkle blue sky.”