Persell Middle School Students Use Author’s Poems to Express Their Feelings

Persell Middle School fifth graders recently took to the great outdoors to be inspired by, and create, poetry. Students in Ashley Keiser’s ELA classes learned about metaphors within novels during this year’s classroom study and, through a generous donation by author Nila Webster of her poetry book “Where the Poems Dance,” expanded their metaphor study through poetry. Mrs. Webster donated her book of her mother’s poems about nature to every fifth grader in the Jamestown Public Schools. Mrs. Webster has also donated books to all the JPS elementary schools in past years.

“I think it was important to help students find another medium of expression and poetry was a perfect fit,” said Mrs. Keiser. “This year, I was very open with my students about my own experience with poetry in hopes that seeing me vulnerable would make them feel more comfortable to try poetry.  I wrote poetry as a kid, until I received a poor grade on a poem in school, and then I shut down. It wasn’t until years later that I tried writing it again and gained confidence.  I wanted students to know that poetry is very private, and for many people can speak the words of their soul. This is something that Mrs. Webster discusses in the book she donated to our fifth graders.”

Besides learning a new way to express themselves, Mrs. Keiser was also looking to enlighten students that poetry allows a writer to have freedom with communicating their thoughts and feelings.

“I love that poetry allows you to express who you are,” said Persell Middle School fifth grader, Leanne Stafford. “I also like that it lets something inspire you and spark your interest, such as nature, in writing a poem. Mrs. Keiser taught us there are no boundaries when writing a poem. Mrs. Webster’s poetry book taught me to think deeper.”

The students worked together to create a class poetry book. 

“I think the donation to all of the middle schools is extremely generous,” said Mrs. Keiser.  “It is definitely a gift that will keep on giving as many of these young writers continue to practice the art of poetry. I struggle with my own creativity and therefore shy away from that in the classroom. This donation pushed me to expose my students to a complete free-write. And what surprised me most of all, is how all of the students jumped right in and wrote. That’s not something I can say about all of the writing we do in our class. I truly believe the students were inspired by reading her poetry.”

posted on 07/07/2015 - filed under: Academics, ELA, Middle School, Spotlight, Students, teachers