Most likely, he started with some lighter material, like Emily Faw who studied poetry at L.J. Bell this week and penned the acrostic poem “Campsite.”
“Clear view/ Animals/ Moonlight/ Pack/ Stars in the sky/ Insects fly/ Tent/ Environment,” one future Faw classic reads.
“The silly squirrel swam to the sea,” reads another.
Summer enrichment programs began at several Richmond County Schools sites this week, offering opportunities to strengthen students’ writing skills.
The camps are being held at four elementary schools and two middle schools. They will culminate with celebrations scheduled for July 28-29 at the various sites.
At the L.J. Bell program, they are learning about poetry with a camp theme. With camping comes creepy things that go bump in the night.
“The focus is poetry, but we’re incorporating arts and crafts, music and drama into it to keep them engaged,” said Alison Parsons. During the school year, she teaches fourth grade at Washington Street School, but she is assisting with the enrichment program.
“We’re really trying to make it not school,” she continued. “When they don’t feel like they’re in school, it’s easier for them to learn. So, we’ve been talking about camping, and things that go bump in the night, telling ghost stories, but not really scary stories — just kind of friendly ghost stories.”
Thursday, Parsons told ghost stories to the students in the auditorium, before they went to the library to make some pretend surprises for the teachers to eat.
Drew Davis had an interesting dish for the teachers.
“I put googly eyes disguised as gum on my pizza,” he said.
“Ooh! He must hate his teacher,” Faith Baxley wrinkled her nose, then giggled. “On mine, I’ve got whale blubber, and it doesn’t taste good, and she’s also getting cat brains. And the best part is she’s got to eat it!”
Will Bostick’s plate had poison, brains, and other nasty stuff with the word “Yuck!” on it.
Rohanen Primary first grade teacher Kate Murray explained the concept of poetry is to elicit imagery and expressive thoughts, so fostering the children’s’ imagination is a key.
“It has a lot to do with the students’ creativity,” she said. “We want them to use their own thoughts and their own imagination.”
Some of the techniques the children were learning this week were poems that are shaped like a diamond; non-rhyming poetry and alliteration, or the use of repetitive consonant sounds at the beginning of words, Murray said.
The students also worked with couplets, which is a little easier for the first graders to wrap their mind around. Couplets are two-line poems that rhyme.
Natalie Davis, who is going into the third grade, explained the intricacies of an acrostic poem.
“It’s easy,” she said. “I learned all about it. All you do is put down a word first. So like, if you do camp, you write that, then the first word will begin with ‘C.’ We wrote a lot of stuff, and we’ve got typewriters and computers at our camp, too.”
She also wrote a poem using alliteration. It read “Annie’s Aunt Ate an Apple Pie.”
Jaden Johnson recalled two poems she wrote this week, but couldn’t remember exactly how they went.
“One was about the tent, and then one was about the sleeping bag,” she said.
“We wrote one to make our camping song, too,” Emily Faw said. “It was all about going camping, and we used the tune to ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,’ but it was like scary, because it was about things that go bump in the night, like bats flying in the air.”
Richmond County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael Perry explained how the enrichment program is a better alternative than having traditional classes in a summer school setting.
He said the budget crisis in the state drew attention to finding different ways to engage students.
“(RCS) is committed to finding ways to enhance learning opportunities for our students, especially during the current financial crisis,” he said. “We are excited about this educational opportunity for our children to write . The children are connecting and applying learning to real world experiences in a creative and exciting manner.
“As they experience the pride of being a published author through engaging new friends, new experiences, and new learning tools, they advance Richmond County’s motto of ‘HOPE’ for every student.”