Edison Students Transform Classroom to Coffee House
The students and teachers at Edison Middle School take April’s National Poetry Month very seriously. They take it so seriously, in fact, that they transformed a classroom into a Poetry Coffee House—complete with a student-created backdrop, lava lights, and treats. The entire seventh grade attended the “Coffee House” to share original poems with one another. In the tradition of the “Beatniks” of the 1950’s, students were encouraged to replace conventional applause with snapping and shouts of, “Cool, Daddy-O!” Also, following the “Beatnik” style of dress, everyone—including teachers and guests, were asked to dress in black. This practice allows the audience to focus on the words of the poet presenting, rather than becoming distracted by an outward appearance.
The purpose of this activity is to foster an appreciation for the art of poetry, which is sometimes seen by this age group as boring to read or too difficult to compose. However, by bringing these young writers all together in one room, they can learn to appreciate the different styles, topics, and approaches that can be used in creative writing. The Coffee House activity makes it easy to recognize how fun and freeing poetry can actually be!
The idea for the Poetry Coffee House began as a one-classroom event, but has now evolved into something that involves the entire school. Many have collaborated to make this interactive lesson a success. Those who are not involved in the organization of the activity plan to participate as audience members. In fact, many of the teachers in the building are just as excited as the students as this time of year approaches. Famous poet, Carl Sandburg once wrote, “Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.” The teachers behind this project agree. Therefore, they believe this will be a memorable lesson for the young people involved, allowing them to look back fondly on their middle school experiences with poetry.