In April, I will do Poetry.

In April, I will do Poetry.

At T&L Live in Boston, Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) emceed our first EdTech Poetry Slam, featuring local school leaders Rayna Freedman, Leo Brehm, Matt Joseph, Suzy Brooks, Jared Perrine, and Colleen Terrill. They were all terrific, but the audience chose the following poem by Suzy Brooks as the winner. (Click here to see Suzy reading the poem.)

I adore how words make me feel and think

And speak for me when anxiety shuts me down.

When strung together in poetic ways,

Words reflect who we are and show us who we’re meant to be.

I want my students to feel their power

and surrender to the possibility.

So, in April, I will do Poetry!

My first poster:

Langston Hughes:

“All you who are dreamers too,

Help me to make our world anew.

I reach out my dreams to you.”

Our lessons began:

Stanzas, phrasing, cadence and rhyme

Imagery, personification, perception and paradigm.

My students bent their heads to work,

arranging words in a rhyming thread…

shred, bed, red. Fred.

I wait for their hearts to speak to me through poetic drawl…

As I teach them rhythm and alliteration

and personification and word deliberation.

Then, they fall in love….

With shape poetry.

“Miss Brooks!!!

“My auntie gave me a blankey when I was 2..

It keeps me warm.

Do you have a blankey, too?”

Before I knew it, May was here

And you know what that means!

National Get Caught Reading Month

National Military Appreciation Month

Because we only celebrate those things in May, right?

In April, 2009, I hung my poster,

emblazoned with words from T.S. Eliot:

“Do I dare disturb the universe?”

The WHOLE Universe??

I am not the daring type.

Yet Desiderata reminds me, that like love,

poetry is as perennial as the grass.

It cannot be barricaded in the prison that is April!


“Miss Brooks!

Peekaboo! I see you. But you cannot see me.”

Nice start, but try for two stanzas and a simile.

2011, Elizabeth Bishop:

“Bright objects hypnotize the mind.”

“Miss Brooks!

When I look in a mirror,

do I see what you do?

To thine own self be true,

Easier to say than it is, to do.”

So true :)

“Miss Brooks!

When is spring is on the precipice,

I feel I like am like a crystalys,

waiting to burst forth and grow.”

Go!!! Grow!!!!!

2013. Rainer Maria Rilke:
“Write about your sorrows, your wishes,

your passing thoughts,

your belief in anything beautiful.”

So I continue to teach them….

Consonance, assonance, dissonance and meter

How to crystallize an image in the mind of your reader.…

“Miss Brooks?

May I share?”

Please do.

“Transparency is a fallacy

What you see is what I let you see

Anxiety. Piety. Variety. Propriety. A Pillar of Society.

Take away your kaleidoscope lens

And I shall be set free.”

Our sharpest weapons and our greatest gifts are the words we choose to say to one another.

Choose your words with care.

Don’t just celebrate Poetry Month.

Celebrate Poetry.

After 10 years as an elementary teacher, Suzy Brooks is a Director of Instructional Technology for Mashpee Public Schools in Massachusetts. She provides professional development and hands-on workshops at local, regional and national venues. Her work in blended learning, student engagement, and social media has been featured by EdWeek, NBC News, Instructor Magazine, Intel, ASCD, and the NEA. Currently, she is the President-Elect for the Massachusetts affiliate of ASCD. Suzy is a SMART Exemplary Educator, FableVision Ambassador, and MassCUE Pathfinder. Suzy holds a B.S. from Bridgewater State University and a M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Lesley University.