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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Power of Poetry at Brightwood, Part VII: Taking the stage

This fall, DC SCORES Digital Media Intern Paris Volpe is attending the after-school poetry sessions at Brightwood Education Campus (Elementary School) to observe how the Panthers discover "The Power of Poetry." Each week, Paris is writing about the curriculum and lesson plans of the program. Follow as she documents the progression of the students’ self-expression and writing techniques. You can also follow Paris' experiences on Twitter by following @DCSCORESinterns and view photos on Flickr.


Written by Paris Volpe 
Digital Media Intern

The decibel level in the cafeteria is getting out of control.

The Panthers are on stage ready for round two of rehearsal but it’s so loud, it’s hard to think. Coach Rosenberg looks at the groups of other students playing and eating in the cafeteria and shrugs. She can’t move her class anywhere else because this is where the stage and microphone is.

So the show goes on.

“Alright guys, let’s be so good this time maybe the other kids will want to listen,” Rosenberg says. “I’ll time this round too.”

When the Panthers perform on stage for the Poetry Slam! Dec. 3., they will have 5 minutes for three poems and cannot use their poem sheets. This is their trial run.

The students hurry back to their positions. Troy R., age 10, takes the front of the stage and introduces his class.

“The title of our first poem is, I am; I wish.’”

His class shouts from behind him, “I AM!”

Troy’s smile widens as he continues. “I am happy with my life because it’s awesome, not boring,” he says proudly.

Individual students take turns speaking their lines into the microphone. As the poem continues, the noisy cafeteria slowly comes down to a simmer. I turn around to see the other kids now gazing at the stage. Conversations do not completely stop but they pause to take notice of the performance.

The students finish off their last poem with a resounding Panther “RAWR!” Another teacher from the back of the cafeteria shouts, “Great job, guys!” The Panthers are surprised but yell back, “Thank you!” and start to high-five.

Rosenberg then continues to help the students work on their posture and projection.

“If you need to fidget, try putting your hands behind your back,” she says. “Your classmates will be the only ones who can see, and they don’t care if you need to wiggle a bit. They are behind you to support you.”

It’s this kind of constructive criticism that helps the students improve their speech and stage confidence.

The students go for round three of rehearsal and the progress is already noticeable. Only a few more sessions before the big day. But Brightwood isn’t running out of steam.

They’re just getting started.


Related posts
Power of Poetry, Part I
Power of Poetry, Part II
Power of Poetry, Part III
Power of Poetry, Part IV
Power of Poetry, Part V
Power of Poetry, Part VI

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