The day I had been waiting and planning for finally arrived last Friday when I unveiled the Poetry Box to the students! Picture one hundred plus children, a big yellow box, and one nervous teacher gathered together in the school cafeteria. My heart was pounding like a drum. Would everything come together? Would the kids buy into my plan? Would they actually be excited about poetry? I am glad to tell you YES, YES, and YES!
Oohs and Aahs filled the room when my teacher friend and I opened the top of the box and eight helium balloons floated out, each balloon bearing a message (more about that later). What came next is still a blur to me and I am sure would have been a great embarassment to my own children! Checking the box for anything else, I found…..wait for it……an invisible dog who introduced himself to me as the “Poetry Pooch”! I reported to the children that he was there to “sniff a whiff of poetry” and boy did he ever! That pooch pulled me screaming, all around the cafeteria until he found his way back to the big yellow box and it was there he sniffed out the Poetry Box. I have to tell you that the giggles, snickers, and out and out laughs were music to this ole teacher’s ears and warmed my heart! (The rest of me was warmed by the running around the cafeteria….don’t know what I was thinking!)
With the help of the Poetry Pooch I told the kids about the Poets and their poems waiting to be finished and then how they would be sent in the box around the United States and maybe the world. Again, oohs and aahs. Each child then worked at writing a short poem to finish the afternoon’s activities. It is hard for me to put into words what the room sounded like as they wrote their poems. Almost every one of the students, Kindergarteners through Sixth Graders, was engaged in poetry! The room was alive! It was one of those magical moments in teaching!
As the day ended I was exhausted but I felt better than I had for a long time. I’d been in my element, doing what I love! There is such satisfaction when hard work pays off. We have all had these moments. They are what keep us going when we are completing the mundane, everyday responsibilities we have to do. It is easy to sink into the feeling that what we do at home, at work, at church, or in the community is unimportant. Thankfully as we are about to go under, someone or something comes along that sparks our inner flame, pulls us out of the mire, and for a short while we are oblivious to what we look like racing around a room with an invisible dog because, our hearts are soaring, children are laughing, and life is a poem!