By Jami Simpson – Grand Junction, Colorado … Students in the 2nd to 4th grade at Intermountain Adventist Academy were busy last week with an assignment that not only dealt with memorization and video recording, but also to encourage individuals in the community who have not been able to leave their homes often.
Their teacher, Jami Simpson, gave them the task of holding an online poetry recital as part of their lesson plan. The project challenged the students not only to memorize a poem, but to also learn technology skills needed to share their work. According to Sayeh Yousefi (2016), who wrote about the benefits of memorizing poetry, “the biggest benefit of reading and memorizing poetry, aside from an appreciation for a wondrous art form, is the immensely beneficial role it plays in the development of one’s mind and intellectual ability.” *
Another reason for the hefty assignment was to bring a smile to the faces of those at home, not able to get out much. Students encouraged the community by reciting their poems online, bringing happiness and joy to those unable to interact much with people outside their home.
One fourth grader commented, “The reason we recorded these poems is because we wanted to share the love of Jesus with other people.” Mason, a 3rd grader, stated, “We made these poems for making people laugh.”
The students chose from a selection of poems. Their choices included “giggle poetry”, Valentine poems, and classics by William Blake and Emily Dickinson.
Fourth grader Max said, “The poem I memorized was easy to learn. The poem was fun. I liked the poem because it was funny.” Aning, another fourth grader, had a different opinion, “To be honest, it was hard for me, since I’ve never done a poem.”
After memorizing, the next task was learning to record video using their Chromebooks. The students then had to save the video onto their Google drives. Finally, they learned to insert the video and accompanying images onto a Google slide. The students did some very basic editing by trimming the ends of their video clips. Tanner, grade 2, said, “Making a poem is hard because you have to memorize. It was fun to put the pictures [with it] though.” Sophia, grade 3, thought that “it was easy to record, but hard to get it on slides.”
Another of the fourth graders reflected, “Have you ever thought about a poem? Well, if not, think about these lines from ‘Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face” by Jack Prelutsky:
Be glad your nose is on your face, / not pasted on some other place, / for if it were where it is not, / you might dislike your nose a lot.’
God created us. He put our noses on our faces because He knows best. He is love.”
To view videos of the poetry recital, you can visit IAA’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IAAGJ
–Jami Simpson is the 2nd – 4th grade teacher at Intermountain Adventist Academy; photos from IAA’s Facebook page
*Yousefi, S. (2016, June 14). Benefits of Memorizing Poetry. Novak Djokovic Foundation. https://novakdjokovicfoundation.org/benefits-memorizing-poetry/