expr:class'"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Monday, October 7, 2013

Inside the notebook at Imagine Hope Community Charter School, Part I: Enthusiasm to learn and express

Mr. Clemons instructs his DC SCORES students.
Each week throughout the fall DC SCORES season, I will be accompanying the students of the Tolson campus of Imagine Hope Charter on their journey through DC SCORES' Power of Poetry curriculum. This will include weekly content posted on Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and this blog. Follow these talented kids as they learn to express themselves through one of the purest forms of art. You can stay in touch with me by following me on Twitter at @DCSCORESInterns and @DCSCORES. Enjoy!

-- Brady Smithsund, Fall 2013 Intern

As I approached the nondescript building of Imagine Hope Community Charter School -- Tolson Campus for the first time, I had no idea what I would face. I walked in the front door and upon receiving directions, climbed stairs to a classroom on the second floor. Before I even got close to the room, I could hear the collective chant of a group of elementary school kids.

“If I work hard enough, I can do anything!” screamed the kids. A couple boys in the back dropped beats on the table, banging their hands like they were kick drums, snares and hi-hats. The chant repeated again and again, getting louder each time.

From the moment I walked in the door and witnessed this, I could feel the energy radiating from these kids. Even after a long day at school, they were stoked to still be in a classroom, learning poetry until late in the afternoon.

Never before had I seen kids who were so excited to learn material that was completely voluntary.

Creating an acrostic poem!
The teacher, Jerome Clemons (@MisterClemons on Twitter), started class by reading a poem from the DC SCORES curriculum entitled "9 Gold Medals" by a poet none of the kids had ever heard of. This poem touched on issues of sportsmanship, acceptance and compassion, all values that DC SCORES prides itself on instilling in youth. Each student had a different guess at what the poem was about, but in the end they were all on the same page.

Wondering who I was, the kids asked me a couple questions but then quickly accepted me into their community. Now one of them, I watched as the students wrote their first ever acrostic poems, using the word SCORES as the template. They then voted to decide which words they wanted to use from their brainstormed list. Using words like success, creative, outstanding, and respect, the poem was formed. The kids stood back to admire their hard work.

The hour gone, it was time for the kids to go home. High-fiving Mr. Clemons and me, they ran out of the room with big smiles on their faces, excited about what they just learned.

One stopped and asked me, “Will you be here next week?”

Yes, yes I will.

No comments:

Post a Comment