This year Prairie Creek Elementary and COMPAS Teaching Artist Rachel Moritz explored poetry and bookmaking. Thanks to a MSAB Arts Learning grant, K-5th grade students got to visit Minnesota Center for Book Arts and then work with Rachel Moritz on three poetry workshops focusing on inspiration, first drafts, revision, and placing their writing into the books they made at MCBA. They shared their final products at an event for families and friends.
Nancy Dennis, an educator at Prairie Creek Elementary, was there to witness the magic. The theme was "winter", a concept most Minnesotans could write novels about let alone poems. However, Rachel never discouraged any ideas that were broader than the coldest season of the year.
"Thinking creatively is crucial to children's development," Nancy says. "...it's a different way for them to learn, think and problem-solve."
Each day Rachel presented something different for the students to try; to challenge and broaden their minds in terms of what poetry could be.
"She honored the children's ideas and helped them to look at words differently, to hone in on specific parts of their poems, and generally have fun with language and poetry."
On the final day Rachel taught the children how to perform their poetry and read their work in various ways. They brought their poems to life as they read aloud into a microphone for the class to hear. "Poetry is also a way to communicate ideas and feelings in a way that is accessible to all children, going beyond just words."
We couldn't agree more! Curious to know more about Rachel? Check out her Artist Spotlight here!