In our continued effort to learn outside the four walls of the classroom, Mr. Todd and Ms. Abi’s 6th Grade Language Arts classes have teamed up for the second year to participate in the International Poetry Guild.

The students began this journey by submitting a brief introduction about themselves online to their mentors at the University of Michigan. They shared such information as their location, what poets and/or types of poetry they enjoyed, outside interests, and what they hoped to gain from this experience.

Both classes discussed and wrote free-response poems that were submitted to their mentors. This began a back-and-forth dialogue between elementary students and college students about what the poems meant and how technique could be improved.

Mr. Todd led a second session that focused on haiku. The students learned that haiku is a traditional Japanese poem that is often written about nature. They also learned that haiku is written in three lines with a specific 5-7-5 syllabic structure to each of the lines. The classes then submitted a three verse (nine line) haiku that focused on the holidays.

Ms. Abi led the most recent class on concrete or shape poems. This type of poetry can be about any topic, and does not have to rhyme. Students were encouraged to write a free-response poem as practice, and to then fit the words into a certain shape that represented the words that were written. The classes then sent two more concrete poems to their mentors. We look forward to their responses.

Both classes have been enthusiastic about this project. Not only does it expose them to different genres of poetry, it gives them a chance to share their work with an unbiased source in the form of their mentors.

As new genres of poetry are introduced students write new samples for their mentors at the University of Michigan to critique. Recently, 6th Graders incorporated one of these International Poetry Guild projects with Ms. Lisa’s Technology class. Each student was to choose an emotion to elaborate on through the five senses, and then design a visual representation to accompany that poem on a poster. The project was a huge success! ​See samples below. ​