Connecting Classrooms with Poetry and Art

Students in 1st and 9th grades recently came together for a poetry project in which older students shared what they had been learning with their younger counterparts, and both collaborated in developing original poems and artwork.

Freshmen in Mike Mahany’s Upper School Reading and Writing Across the Genres course are studying poetry this quarter and have been developing original poetry as part of their coursework. One of the forms they examined recently was a pantoum, a poem written in quatrains (four-line stanzas), in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third of the next stanza (with minor changes if desired).

Mahany saw the collaborative power of this form of poetry and decided to pair his students with Bev “Greenie” Greenberg’s 1st grade class to develop pantoums together. Freshmen came up with lines one and three, and the 1st graders contributed lines two and four for each stanza. After completing their poems, students further enhanced their work with illustrations, making original masterpieces that were as wonderful to look at as they were to listen to. Older students each took the time to write their younger counterpart a personal note on their poem, a small touch that meant so much to the 1st graders.

Greenie shared, “I appreciate Mike’s willingness to connect Upper and Lower School students and enrich 1st graders’ education through poetry. It is such a gift to the younger children to learn from older students in the school.”

Click here for photos.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.