Sunday, June 30, 2013

Open-Mike for Poetry Celebration

Most of our teachers have end-of-year writing celebrations in their classrooms and invite parents and special guests. One of the parts that I love about my job as the district's writing coordinator is attending these events.

Students, parents, and other guests enjoy poetry
 reading at an end-of-the-year celebration.
One of our fifth-grade teachers, Heather O'Connor, arranged for her class to celebrate the end of their writing year with a poetry slam at a local restaurant. Peaberry's Cafe hosts open-mike nights for poets. Heather called the owner to ask about bringing her class to one, and the owner suggested that instead, they have their own. Describing the event, Heather wrote, "I will definitely make this a yearly tradition. It was a such a wonderful way for the kids to share their word play, and it truly felt like a celebration of their work. Plus, we were able to host more people-- 93 people (including the kids)."

Heather thanks the students and guests for coming
 and celebrating poetry and the year of writing.
If you have ever had a chance to listen to Alan November's TedTalk about motivating students by giving them purpose, this is an amazing way to celebrate writers and give students a purpose. The students truly planned the night, creating an order of events, introductions, announcements, and even a mini-lesson for guests. Additionally, they collaborated in order to make sure that there would be microphones, hand-outs, photography, and necessary supplies.

Heather's final reflection? "All in all, it was a perfect night -- a true celebration of the writing life!"

I'll be sharing some of the other celebrations I attended, and I would love to hear about more!

Be well,


  1. What a fabulous celebration! When I taught first grade we invited friends and relatives to come in and hear the kids read their poetry. I miss having these events with my own students. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Loved Alan's TED talk, and how Heather put that into practice. I like the way she went out of the box on this one - this way, her students went into the community as opposed to the usual "let's meet in our own c;assroom" type of event. So much more powerful Heather's way! Thanks for sharing this, Melanie.