I teach sporadic bits of poetry throughout the whole school year, but then comes a magical time (currently right now) where I spend quality days of reading and writing poetry with my classes. These days are filled with my favorite moments of the whole year.
I start off with asking students frankly, "Tell me what you think about poetry." I ask them to be honest, and to tell me if they hate it. When the few tell me they don't like it, I press again and ask why. They're response is usually the same: "I have nothing to write about."
And so, I start off with our first poetry writing assignment: The Six Word Memoir.
I love teaching poetry to my 8th graders because for the first time, I really begin to see them take ownership in their writing. They produce these poems (sometimes just six words and others in iambic pentameter) and they suddenly aren't afraid to take risks. They boldly state their vulnerabilities and insecurities and they suddenly aren't afraid.
Most of our poems are nameless, I ask the students to not include their names on their work and yet often they still do. They take pride in their work. But our Six Word Memoirs always stay anonymous. The anonymity in the Six Word Memoir allows them to take the biggest risks.
So now my friends, I ask you and encourage you to share:
If you had only six words,
"I have no special talent.