Sunday, April 21, 2013

Praise Poems

The poetry challenge today was a form of praise poem. Praise Poems come from Western Africa and celebrate an individual's identity. They are often call and response, with the audience chanting a chorus between lines.

The formula I gave my students was to write six lines and a chorus. The first line is your name, the second about your place of birth or ethnicity, the third about your family, the fourth and fifth compare you to natural elements or entities, and the last chooses a positive, defining quality about you and repeats it three times. The chorus is an expression of what they hope might be said of them by their community, and so it is written in third person.

Once again, I am really wowed by the kids' writing. I got goosebumps reading a couple of them. One boy ended his poem with the line, I am ready, ready, ready. Another student wrote as her chorus, Everyone counts.

Here's my praise poem:

I am Tracey,
Teaching is in her heart.
born within the watch of Freedom,
Teaching is in her heart.
oldest child of flight and persuasion, sister of law and empowerment.
Teaching is in her heart.
I am warm granite ledges
Teaching is in her heart.
and quiet snowfall,
Teaching is in her heart.
and I am patient, patient, patient.
Teaching is in her heart.

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