Fourth Graders Celebrate Inner Voice, Creativity at PoetryFest

Fourth Graders Celebrate Inner Voice, Creativity at PoetryFest
Bronxville, NY

Bronxville Elementary School fourth graders embarked on a creative endeavor as they read and wrote poetry before performing original and well-known poems before an audience of parents, teachers, administrators and peers during the annual PoetryFest on May 17.

Fourth grade teacher Lauren Wright, who launched the event in 2014, said she was inspired by her own elementary school teacher who encouraged her to use her imagination and express herself creatively. In turn, Wright has made a lasting impression on her own students over the last decade.

“PoetryFest is not just about the poetry,” Wright said. “It’s about expressing your inner voice, working through challenges towards a goal, and overcoming any fears of public speaking.”

Throughout the experience, the fourth graders read, discussed and interpreted poetry, and examined a variety of poetic techniques. They learned how to use figurative language, line breaks, imagery, repetition, rhyme and rhythm in their writing to effectively express emotion and mood. Some of the students drew inspiration from ordinary observations, feelings and objects and brought them to life through meticulous language and word choice.

“Their poems were incredibly insightful and creative,” Wright said. “I love how they took ordinary moments or objects and turned them into poetry. Something as mundane as a pencil in a pencil sharpener turned into a work of art. We sat outside one morning to write poetry and the kindergarten students were blowing bubbles on the playground. My class was watching and observing them and then starting writing poetry about bubbles. It was such a genuine and natural inspiration for their poems.”

During the PoetryFest celebration, the students recited famous poems, including the work of Shel Silverstein, as well as the original poems they wrote. One student drew inspiration from Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” to write her own version that was deep and meaningful.

“PoetryFest allowed the students the opportunity to express themselves creatively in front of an authentic audience,” Wright said. “Each child's personality and imagination were evident in their performance. However, the part that brought me the most joy was watching them support each other. When they hugged and high-fived after each poem it showed how close they've become as a class community. It made me feel extra proud of them.”