Poet shares knowledge with Prospect Elementary students
By Matthew Stewart | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A performing poet recently shared craft secrets — and his passion for the written and spoken word — with Prospect Elementary School’s student body.
Allan Wolf met with elementary-schoolers on Thursday, as part of the school’s Read Across America celebrations. The annual reading motivation and awareness event calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2 — the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss.
Prospect Elementary School organized a week’s worth of activities, including favorite hat day, green eggs and ham breakfast, pajama day and silly sock day. Educators tied at least one of Dr. Seuss’ books into the daily activities.
Third- through fifth-graders also completed a recycling project on Friday. The activity was an outgrowth of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” which tells a tale of environmental degradation and the titular character’s reactions to it.
Wolf introduced young readers to the art of writing, listening to and realizing poetry’s essence and its vitality. He performed a number of poems, including John Ciardi’s “Sometimes I Feel This Way,” English nursing rhyme “Jack and Jill,” Eloise Greenfield’s “Things,” Pat Mora’s “Castanet Clicks” and nursery rhyme “Five Little Monkeys.”
The author emphasized form and used a number of strategies and techniques to communicate the material. He showed off vernacular literature techniques, such as call and response, and provided musical backing to illustrate poetry’s rhythm.
“Poems have their own music,” Wolf said. “They have their own rhythm and rhyming patterns, their own beat.”
He also discussed poetry’s content. “Poetry can talk about the way you feel inside. Poetry can also tell a story, everything from being scared to being silly to being a hippo with purple high-top tennis shoes.”
Educators were pleased with Wolf’s presentation.
“We were truly honored to have him, because Allan lives his poems,” said Sandy Fuchs, who is the Prospect’s Title 1 teacher and literacy leader. “His enthusiasm sucks you into them, creating a kind of living poem. I’m also looking for ways to generate enthusiasm about reading and writing.”
The teacher’s personal educational philosophy can be summed up in two sentences: “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” The excerpt, which is from Dr. Seuss’ “I Can Read with my Eyes Shut,” encompasses Fuchs’ aspirations for her students.
“I believe reading is the key that will open many doors for our students,” she said. “I have a passion to share my love of reading and writing with our kids — and enthusiastic adults who share this passion with kids are contagious. It’s the reason that I work so hard to have fun people who live a literate lifestyle visit our students and teachers.”
Wolf has instilled this passion in students, as well.
“He was awesome,” said Lillian Yopp. “I’ve heard songs and poems, but I never knew that they were the same. He brought them together, and it was a lot of fun.”
“He really knows poems, and I liked hearing them, especially the hippopotamus song,” said J.J. Chandler. “He also taught me some new words, which was pretty cool. I love learning new things.”
Both students also appreciated the emphasis on reading.
“I love reading,” Yopp said. “You can do what you say when you read.”
“Reading is just cool,” Chandler said. “Everyone should read.”