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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Inside the notebook at Imagine Hope Community Charter Part IV: Self-expression through movement

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 TwitterInstagramFlickr, 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!

-- Zac Oring, Fall 2013 Intern


This week, I attended Imagine Hope Charter in place of my fellow intern Brady Smithsund. This was my first time being in the classroom with Mr. Clemons, Ms. Kuehl, and all the students. I was introduced to the class, and was greeted with the warm smiles of the children. A few even asked if they could call me “best friend” on my very first day!

When I entered the class, the students had just finished learning about UNICEF (United Nations Children Fund). Each student was given an orange box, labeled “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF,” which encouraged students to fundraise in their community.

The presentation led right into the poetry lesson of the day … but not before a little warm up! The class was split into two groups, one led by Mr. Clemons and the other by Ms. Kuehl.

The groups played the Rhythm Game: all of the students, except for one, gather in a circle and one of the students creates a rhythm for the rest of the group to follow. The creator of the rhythm can then change the beat at any time. The one student who is not in the circle -- and has had their back turned -- then must get in the middle of the circle and try to figure out which one of their classmates is changing the rhythm.

All of the kids had a blast and I was even invited to join in on the game, However, all of the kids were way better than me and my poor gameplay provided some humor for the group!

The kids then sat down with their pencils and notebooks to begin writing their “Who Am I” poems. Demonstrating their teambuilding mentality, many of the kids helped their peers come up with ideas for their poems if they were stuck. Each child wrote two versions of the poem -- one from the perspective of the student, and the other version from the perspective of a poor person.

The kids all had the opportunity to present their poems in front of the class; each poem read was applauded by snapping fingers. Incorporating hand motions and gestures with the words being spoken was encouraged by the teachers.

One student read aloud, “I am famished” while simultaneous rubbing his stomach and groaning as if he were hungry and in need of food. Another student read aloud, “I am a dancer” before breaking out a fancy dance move!

While the students were working on their poems, I asked a few of them, “What does poetry mean to you?”

One boy told me, “Poetry helps me learn new things and teaches me what I love in life.”

Another student gave me three words that come to mind when he thinks of poetry: “emotions, explanatory and fun.”

My day at Imagine Hope Charter concluded with a nice pasta party. I look forward to visiting the classroom again in the near future and seeing the kids’ progress in DC SCORES’ Power of Poetry curriculum.

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