I think that our Poem in Your Pocket Day celebration was a success, a success doesn't mean that there isn't room for growth. I reached out to teachers and students get their feedback.
"I think the day was a complete success - the kids loved sharing and performing as some did! It was great! and I'm always impressed the amount of talent that these kids possess!"
"This day was by far one of my favorite M-R days! Thank you for all your energy and enthusiasm with this special day! It was contagious, so nice job! Of course the technology piece could have been smoother...it was beyond our control. It would have been nice for more children to have shared on the microphone---they were truly engaged and motivated. I guess this will keep them motivated until next time."
"I was pleasantly surprised when one of my kindergartners took out and ""read' his poem to me. It was a picture he had drawn of a train, and he had his ""poem"" neatly folded in his pocket."
"Two of my first graders asked me if I had a poem. I took it out and read it to them, and asked them about theirs, and asked them to read theirs to me. It was fun, a learning experience, and it took only minutes!"
"The stickers are also a good idea for next year."
"AWESOME JOB!!! You were so very considerate to classroom teachers, too, and I know that was appreciated!"
"Loved it!!!! We all had so much fun writing and performing our poems!!! ;)"
"There were many students that came to school with their own hand written poems-in their folders, pockets and lunch boxes."
"At snack time, some students shared poems they got from our class or outside in the morning and some students shared the poems they wrote in library class. It was so nice!"
"Students who don't always embrace writing could find joy in writing poetry. There was as much excitement as Halloween. (That's good and bad!)"
"The poem I shared, A.A. Milne's Halfway Down the Stairs, was a poem I performed w/ one of my first classes way back in 1977! And I still know it by heart. Kids took it home to read to parents & half of them took up the challenge of memorizing it & recited it the next day. Full circle! Almost 40 yrs later!! A good poem is timeless!"
I asked the teachers to share an aspect that worked well.
"Sharing and talking about poetry. I love how the older grades helped in executing the whole day. My class LOVED the poetry jam at lunch time!! I also love the feeling of community that the day provided."
"An abundance of poems available!"
"It was great! It was perfectly timed to launch our poetry unit. The kids loved writing and reading poems ALL DAY."
"It reminded me of the collaboration and fun I feel when we work together as a staff for Fool's Folly. I think it brought our whole school together."
"Created enthusiasm for sharing & enjoying poetry."
"Emphasized that poems like good stories can have many moods. They can be silly, funny, serious, sad and meaningful."
"Having the kids pass out poems upon arrival."
"Sharing poems with kids. At several points in the day, I read my poem to the kids I was working with, and they read theirs to me."
"Having the poems readily accessible- in our pockets!"
"I really liked the whole aspect of the kids sharing their poems with whoever they encountered during the day. "
I asked the teachers to share a suggestion for next year.
"Nothing on your end, but I will certainly plan more for it in the classroom next year and really make the whole day all about poetry."
"Plan out the lunch poetry share more with the grade level team to be more interactive and engaging."
"Perhaps a bit more advance notice? I didn't really know how the day would unfold. Some of their poems from library (only a few) were inappropriate. I know you have so much to do in library, so either allowing more time over the month for writing or coming to browse at a different time might be helpful."
"I'll be better prepared to embrace the day next year. I can't wait. It really was awesome!"
"It was great the way it was. I would keep it this way!"
I asked for fresh ideas for next year.
"Do it again!!"
"Great celebration! Maybe Mark [Principal] could read a poem on the intercom several points throughout the day??"
"Can't wait to do it again."
"Mark shares a short poem during morning announcements to set the stage for the day."
"You could say everyone should write their own poems- but I really liked that the poem could be any poem - that kept the focus on sharing and enjoying poetry, so that even those kids who don't like to write could have a good poem to share."
What did the students have to say? Here's the feedback from the fourth graders:
"I wish we could trade poems with each other."
"You should have copies of more poems."
"More time for people to share during the poetry slam at lunch."
"Mr. Springer should read a poem over the intercom."
"Have students read their poems over the intercom."
"Maybe give each grade a subject for their poems."
"We should memorize a poem."
"We should have a all school poetry jam."
"We could play poetry games."
"I think we should learn about a poet and do a presentation."
"We could invite local poets to come read at our school."
"Draw random names to read poems during the poetry jam."
"Have poems outside the classrooms in baskets for students to take."
"Have more students in the blue zone handing out poems."
I plan to combine this important feedback, along with feedback from parents and my own reflections on the day. I am excited to begin planning for next year. Too bad it's so far away!