There are several things that you can do to have a successful poetry club on Fridays or as a club offering in middle or high school. This genre has a variety of different forms and although we sometimes act if poetry is squishy and mushy, we can find some great examples of poetry used in a variety of other ways. The purpose of poetry is to express emotions and feelings by creating clear images with words, sometimes in rhyming patterns, sometimes not, but no matter which pattern, there is a rhythm to the words. Poetry should allow the reader to use his/her imagination to become inspired or more in tune with the world around them.
Lyrics to songs are probably the most common poetry with which young people engage. Take advantage of the songs being sung by the most popular singers. Miley Cyrus, a popular artist has recorded a song entitled, “The Climb”. This song, written by J Alexander and J Mabe, talks about the dreams young people have and the doubts that keep creeping into their heads that tell them this dream will not be achieved. Then the lyrics go on to say that you need to keep on trying, even when you fail, to get to the other side, because the most important thing is the journey and what occurs along the way. Below is a snippet of these lyrics*
“I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"
Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb”
What a powerful message for young people—and looking at such poetry can be the beginnings of
perhaps, writing their own poetry and expressing their own feelings and struggles. Bring poetry into your program and give young people a chance to explore this genre of writing.
Not so usual celebrations…
August 27th is Just Because Day. Why in the world would be celebrate a Just Because Day? The answer is simple, “Because.” This is the day to do things for no apparent rhyme or reason, but simply just because you would like to. This means that you can act on a whim, take a chance (not too risky) and try something new. Here are some ways that you might want to spend, Just Because Day that are suggested by Holiday Insights:^
“Take an unplanned day of vacation
Visit someone you haven't seen in a while
Knock on someone's door and compliment them for their great lawn
Skip, don't walk
Spin a wheel, and bicycle in the opposite direction of where the arrow points.
Buy something you don't need.
Jump in a puddle
Walk backwards “
Enjoy today—Just Because.
Activity for Kids
Have kids make a list of things that they would like to do…just because. Have them make a lengthy list and include at least one thing that they could do at school that would be fun but not against the agreements. Have students share their lists with the class. Have them call out the action they would like to take at school. Help them tweak this item on the list if you need to do so. Then give them a minute or two to do what they have identified—just because.