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West Lincoln Elementary School

Little But Fierce
School Contact:  Laura Ruppert

Artist Educators:  Becky Boesen, Petra Wahlqvist and Tyler Hale (on behalf of Flatwater Shakespeare Company)

Amazing third and fourth grade students were invited into the world of poetry, centered around the sonnets of William Shakespeare.  Artist Educators cultivated the potential of students while empowering them to use poetry to share raise their voices and share their opinions about their worlds.  In 5 weeks, students learned how to write personal sonnets, the value of collaboration, and the importance of remaining true to oneself when faced with prohibitions. Almost immediately, this session created an environment of trust where students inspired their educators with their ability to face each day with bravery, kindness, and an ability to state their needs, when needed.

As part of the curriculum, students were encouraged to share pieces of writing that were important to them.  A third grade student shared a poem her mother had written, then explaining that because of matters associated with addiction, she was not able to see her mother until she turns 19.  This opened up an important conversation where students spoke freely about the own home situations, which cultivated a sense of empathy between the students, as well as solidarity.  Poetry made them feel safe, free to express themselves, and created a “family” environment in the class that won’t be soon forgotten.

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