The 2015-16 Creative Teaching Grant awarded to Chris Ronan at Fremont Middle School will be used to invite a group of professional “slam poets” from the Nebraska Writers Collective (NWC). Lasting an extensive full day, the traveling artists conduct 4-5 sessions of poetry writing/performance workshops which culminate into a friendly, inspiring, and powerful experience. The full day will touch and serve over 120 students from the team, as they laugh, create and practice performing original, individual and group pieces.
The visiting poets create and implement constructivist, authentic, and individualized learning experiences for multiple students’ learning styles. It has been a perfect time to allow students to step away from classroom stressors and delve into unique (similar & different alike) perceptions, world issues and self reflection, with fresh perspectives.
The main objective of this workshop is to give students from all races and demographic backgrounds regardless of gender or sexual orientation, a safe space for self expression. The atmosphere is electric with all students cheering on one another at the microphone, allowing poetry to clearly bridge the divide which formerly alienated them perhaps, from one another. The main goal is to help as many as possible find and share their voices …in the midst of the learning.
Sessions usually cover various poetry writing and metaphoric usage, inspired to share in a warm inviting community setting. The final product of this process is a small poem, a treasured emblem of success, as well as permanent proof of the potential that exists within all our FMS youth! This universal truth is never more crucial than for students with behavioral and learning disabilities, the often-overlooked youth.
The workshop follows our month long unit of poetry in which many poetic forms as well as figurative language are explored and practiced. This is a wonderful finale to showcase all they have worked to learn. The performance aspect is empowering and I am absolutely astonished at the growth they show at the end of this experience that highlights these fine human beings, which are our students.