Poetry Workshops with Chris Gonzalez 4/12-4/13/2018

Chris-Gonzalez Defining and Creating Poetry

Chris Gonzalez

Ms. Luppino's Grade 7 ELA Class

4/12 and 4/13

All 7th Grade Presentation (GPAC, Thursday, 4/12)

Why do we write and read poetry? What is poetry? What draws us to it, and how does it connect us? These are a few of the questions that Gateway 7th graders explored with local poet, performer, writer, and director, Chris Gonzalez, during two days of poetry organized by the Gateway librarian Bill Brown and ELA teacher, Sue Luppino, to kick off the final book report challenge of the school year. Over the course of 40 days, each student is expected to read 100 poems (30 of which may be song lyrics), and review them for specific items such as favorite lines and figures of speech.

  Chris began his visit in the Gateway GPAC with the entire 7th grade, guiding the students in probing what a poem is and why poetry is worth the struggle and effort to create and read.  The students rose to the challenge, determining that poetry provides us with an outlet for joy, sadness, anger, and other emotions and personal experiences.  It also offers a path for us to notice those things around us that are, at once, ordinary, simple, and also deeply meaningful and profound.

Students explored the use of detail and simplicity using some of the poetry of William Carlos Williams, in particular, "This is Just to Say..." and "The Red Wheelbarrow", which Raphael Kowal is seen sharing with the group (above).  Chris blended personal commentary with lots of student participation, and the  kids responded to him with maturity and insight, managing to dig deep into the purpose and value of poetry in just one short hour. 


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In-Class Poetry Workshops (Gateway Central Library - Distrance Learning Area, Friday, 4/13)

On Friday morning, students showed up primed and ready to create.  They used cards called "Oh-Cards" which combine a larger card with an abstract word (like "give", "go", "struggle", etc.) with a smaller card showing an image of a concrete object.  The students were asked to write a short, haiku poem connecting to two 


"Oh Cards" for Poetry  


The students rose to the challenge and produced some amazing short poems.  These were then written on the board in no particular order to create a larger, community poem, which was, in turn, "mined" for other combinations of sentences and ideas to create additional poetry.

Students and staff were amazed at how these unique and individual poems seemed to blend together, sharing common threads and themes, as if the class had all written them together.   They will be taking these poems back to their classrooms and using them (if they choose) to build new and unique poems.

This project provided students with an amazing way to continue and deepen the on-going poetry work that they've been doing all year with Ms. Luppino.


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