Got HOPE?

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Posted by Mrs. Wells | Posted in Book Reviews, Critical Thinking, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Global Education, Reader's Response, Teaching Ideas, Writing | Posted on 07/31/2014

 

Poetry for Hope is a book of poems written and illustrated by my 4th grade students. It was the product of a unit on poetry at the end of the year in the 4th grade class that I co-teach with another teacher.
We started by analyzing different poems and we soon realized how difficult it was for them to grasp the concept of metaphors. The poem that we were reading was about hope, which they did not know the meaning of, but the poet was comparing it to a bird. When it was time for them to write their own metaphors, they struggled because they did not know what hope was. We were using a metaphor to introduce the concept, but they did not know what the word’s meaning. Until I thought about connecting it to something that almost all of us in that class had in common (including the other teacher)… and that is: Immigration. So, picture this… two immigrant teachers teaching the meaning of hope to immigrant students! It was the most amazing teaching moment ever! So, that is how the book was developed.
We started off by asking: What does hope mean to you? before they wrote their own metaphors. We sat we them, one by one to bring out their personal experiences and feelings that most of them had never dealt with. It was an incredible experience to make them feel successful by sharing their own stories. Then, they started producing their metaphors; hope is…
We ended the unit with a presentation for parents, other teachers and students and school administrators. While we were guiding them in their writing, I immediately thought about a book, but I wanted it to be different, so I recorded their voices and created QR codes so you can scan and listen to them reading their poems too!
After finishing the presentation, I told them that we thought we were teaching them something, but instead they taught us a lot more! We learned not only the meaning of determination, resilience, family, but also why we do what we do!

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