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Exploring the Power of Poetry: How Middle Schoolers can Embrace Expression during National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and it's a wonderful time to encourage your middle schooler to gain a deeper understanding of poetry and fall in love with the art of writing.

Narrative and written linguistics provide a creative escape where learners can enhance their personal and academic skills while having fun. Poetry, in particular, uses language carefully chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm to evoke an emotional response in its reader. Three main categories typically group poetry: narrative, dramatic, and lyric poetry.

Narrative poetry tells stories; dramatic poetry is used in plays with actions; and lyric poetry expresses a person's attitude or state of mind.

This month's celebration of poetry helps to bring dying and lost art back to the forefront while also inviting students to explore the depths of their creativity.

Think about it: For middle schoolers, especially girls navigating the maze of emotions, experiences, and self-discovery, poetry can be an invaluable tool to sharpen communication skills and boost self-expression.

Black GIrl College Prep: National Poetry Month

So, on this middle school Monday, let's dive into ways your middle schoolers can harness the power of poetry to articulate their thoughts, feelings, and dreams during this month of literary celebration.

Poetry and self-expression through writing can help students embrace individuality.

Middle school is a time of intense pressure to conform, please others, and discover oneself.

However, arts like poetry can provide a secure refuge in which originality reigns supreme because the pairing of word choices is unique to us. Perhaps your student is shy or simply uncertain about things; encourage them to embrace their unique perspective, voice, and quirks via poetry. Their paper, pen, device, or journal will never judge them or talk back.

Consider getting your students started with a stylish journal, notebook, or diary. Whether it's free verse, narrative, dramatic, lyrics, or spoken word, there's a poetic form for every personality.

Poetry and self-expression through writing can help students explore emotions. Middle school, as previously mentioned, is a crucial period for self-discovery, a rollercoaster of emotions that can be frightening for students and families if not tamed, explored in a healthy way, or processed effectively.

This is another reason why poetry and writing are great tools to help students define their emotions with raw words targeted at a journal or device (at least here, there are always the options to backspace, delete, or start over without a blowback).

Since poetry provides a judgment-free canvas to paint these feelings, encourage your students to explore all of their real emotions and not hold back. From expressing happiness to grief, anger to love, poetry can help them navigate and make sense of their inner worlds.

If your students feel intimidated or unsure where to start, they can find inspiration practically anywhere. Poetry is everywhere, ready to be discovered in both the boring and the eventful happenings in life. Motivate your middle schoolers to find inspiration from their surroundings, including nature, friendships, school events, movies, books, and even class subjects. By keeping their eyes and hearts open, they will be able to find limitless inspiration for their poetic projects.

Have your students experiment, play, and share (if they feel comfortable doing so). Poetry has no rules; it is a playground for experimentation and play. Teach them to toss out whatever they believed poetry to mean and make it their own; try out new poetic devices, and bend the rules to fit their creative visions, allowing their imagination to soar.

If they feel comfortable sharing, have them share some with you, other peers, and possibly close friends. Sharing can be a way to boost confidence, gain valuable feedback, and connect with others who may be able to validate and understand their message.

Another cool idea would be to have them check out other students' poetry and even poetry from kids abroad to celebrate diversity and as a way to learn through another student's lens.

Throughout National Poetry Month, challenge your middle schoolers to keep writing and practicing to sharpen their skills. Encourage them to make writing a regular habit by scheduling a time each day to put pen to paper (or fingers to computer). Remind them that even the greatest poets had to start somewhere and that each word they write is a step forward in their poetic journey.

Lastly, by using writing, specifically poetry, as a means of self-expression, students can uncover their voices, convey their truths, speak from their hearts, stand tall, and find peace and delight in the art of wordsmithing. So, cheers to a month of creation, expression, and the transformational power of poetry. I hope you will encourage your middle schooler to write!


Coach Rahk


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