Compositions connect community
Students read poems, share their creativity with Starside families
Starside Elementary third-grader Zanab Khalid smiled as she started reading her poem, "Green is Happiness."
"Green is a fairy called Tinkerbell," she read. "Green is a hopping frog...a pretty flower... a flying butterfly."
Surrounded by her classmates, parents and teachers on cushions, Zanab read two of her poems. When finished, her audience cheered for her by snapping.
"I think poetry is fun, because you don't have to rhyme, you just write it and it's fun," she said.
For Starside's first poetry night, third-grade students and their parents enjoyed listening to student-created poetry, famous sonnets by other poets and De Soto High School guitarists Josh Adkins and Ross Brown. The high school students earned donations for their trip to Washington, D.C,. to perform in the National Memorial Day Parade at the end of May.
Third-grade teacher Sara Dilday said she got the idea for poetry night from one of her own teachers in elementary school.
"Last year, it was just my class," she said. "This year, we made it a class-wide thing to celebrate National Poetry Month."
Dilday said the students have been learning many different forms of poetry -- freeform, rhyming, haikus, bio poetry and even poems shaped like a diamond called diamante.
"I think the thing that comes through is their voice and their personality," she said. "Because there's not as many rules, they can be more creative with it."
Dilday said she was also pleased with the many parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles who came to listen to the students' poems.
"It's amazing what kids come up with when you just give them the opportunity to write," she said.
Tracey Stewart read her "acrostic" poem, which she said is also a bio-poem. With her name written across the top, each letter of her name forms a phrase in the poem about herself.
"Poems are fun because you can make up your own and it can be short or long," she said.
Tanner McDaniel said trying to rhyme poetry could sometimes be difficult. He said his favorite poems to write were haikus -- Japanese poems with only three lines that have five syllables in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third.
"My favorite ones to read are Shel Silverstein," McDaniel said. "He has a lot of good books with really funny poems."
Shalom Jackson, Kyser Leonard and Devon Freeman said their favorite part of poetry night was listening to the poems of other students.
"And, we get to snap for them," Shalom said.