Poetry Book Features Work by Students in Grade 8

Poems written by Higgins students has been published as a book.

The 2012 anthology "Higgins Middle School Poetry" is now available for sale through the Higgins Library. The publication of the book was funded by a 2011 Peabody Education Fund Best Bet grant; the sale of the book will benefit the library. It is now for sale for $5 at the school; cash only please!

History of an anthology

For several years, seventh grade teachers at Higgins Middle School have combined the novel, "Bronx Masquerade," by Nikki Grimes with a unit on poetry. The novel is about a high school teacher who introduces his diverse and economically challenged students to the great poets from the Harlem Renaissance time period. The students, inspired by what they have learned, ask their teacher if they can write poetry and perform it every Friday.

Higgins seventh graders really enjoy reading about how poetry has a positive impact on these students who are afraid to be themselves.  They are so inspired each year that they are anxious to try their hand at writing, and performing poetry, too. Some of the teachers have instituted Open Mike Friday’s in their classrooms to help students begin feeling comfortable expressing themselves in front of others.

In their writing, most students explore themes that are generated by the novel and from the Harlem Renaissance era. They write about self-discovery, daring to dream, stereotyping, bullying, and name-calling.  These themes are quite timely and tie in nicely with the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program that our school introduced this year.

Upon conclusion of this unit, seventh graders participate in a poetry slam. They meet in our school library and perform in front of their peers. The next step has been a trip to PAT TV Channel 8 where the students’ work is videotaped and regularly broadcast. This step, however, is voluntary which means that not all the work is properly showcased.

Each year, the enthusiasm and writing seems to get stronger. "Higgins Middle School Poetry" is intended to  preserve the extraordinary work that this exploration generates.

The poetry anthology was edited by Evelyn Rauseo, grade 7 English Language Teacher, and produced by Sudi Smoller, Library Teacher.

To learn more about the Peabody Education Foundation, go to www.peabodyedfoundation.org.

“Extensive research exists supporting the value of publishing students’ writing as a method for not only incenting them to want to write, but also for providing them the motivation to write at their best levels. When students know their writing will be read by a wider audience they will often edit and revise multiple times to ensure it is of their best quality.”

Source: www.studentpublishing.com/wp-st/SupportingResearch.php

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