Power of poetry at slam!

Clarkston News Staff Writer

Mrs. Martinez class-left to right- Addison Newblatt, Morgan Lozzi, Rylee Harris, Natalia Monnet, Ava Dowd and Abbey Clauw

It was a day for youth to find their voice and inject their creativity into words at Bailey Lake Elementary last Friday.

Anne Martinez and Carol Barber’s fifth-grade classes wowed their guests with talent, wit, and reality at their Poetry Slam. This event has been an ongoing tradition there for seven years.

Martinez said, “Poetry seems to be a dying artform and yet it is a genre that is easily accessible to all students.”

Students have discovered poetry can be very personal and can be whatever they want it to be.

“It’s especially perfect for students who otherwise struggle with writing,” she said. ”They usually find the genre of poetry to be something they can manage.”

Students also learn how to convey meaning with figurative language, sensory details, word choice and line breaks. Not only did students spend time learning how to write like a poet, but they also spent time learning how to read their poetry in front of an audience. They also had a little help from their friends from Clarkston High School.

“We had Mr. Eisele’s English students from the high school work with our fifth graders on public speaking at a poetry slam,” Martinez said. “This partnership of students helping students was an amazing experience for all involved.”

On the day of Bailey Lake’s ‘Slam,’ the talented fifth grade students impressed their families by reading their poetry and educating their guests on what they learned in class.  Trent Greene read his poem, “Football” with excitement and passion to the packed audience in the classroom.

“The receiver caught the ball ‘Touchdown!’ The new Super Bowl champs were sobbing babies as they took home the trophy,” he said.

Mrs. Martinez class-Johnny Walker reading his poem Hail Storm

Abbey Clauw read her funny and sarcastic “I am a Sister” poem, describing her not-so-sisterly love for her real-life sister.

“I want to sometimes shove her in a box and ship her away to Canada. I am her sister. I pretend to step on her and then I’m king of the world,” Clauw read, as the audience laughed.

Marie Mazo read her poem entitled “My Brother.”

“I don’t know what to say, but I am going insane. He blames everything on me, he treats me like I’m three. I’d rather live in a tree, so he doesn’t bother me,” Mazo said, also getting a few chuckles.

In addition to reading their poetry, each student had at least one speaking part. This was the way the students taught their families what they learned about poetry writing.

Clauw and Addison Newblatt, shared with their guests the importance of including figurative language which separates mediocre poetry from great poetry.

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