Watching struggling floral buds battling to overcome the unending winter has always been one of my favorite prophesies of spring’s arrival. Another joyous event that spring is near is our annual Power of Poetry Project (P.O.P.P.) celebration. P.O.P.P. is an opportunity for school children in fourth and fifth grades to compete in poetry writing.
As a teacher during the push towards No Child Left Behind and high stakes testing, I had been very concerned with educational initiatives that through intent or misinterpretation seem to push creativity to the background of importance. So in 2010, when Sharon Palmeri invited me to join a committee to begin a project to promote students’ writing creativity, I eagerly agreed. The project, under the Indiana Writers’ Consortium initiatives, has become an annual event that promotes creativity through children creating poems.
Reading the poems fills me with so much joy and pride. We on the committee are so privileged to hear through the poems how children interpret their world. We enter their world to share their joys and tears, laugh with them about things that are silly, and share the beauty of life through a child’s eyes. Our most difficult task is choosing those that will receive awards.
The winning poems are published in a book. Our awards are significant. I wanted to be sure that this academic adventure rivals the athletic competitions in terms of showy awards and they do. The event is also an extremely rewarding experience for us. Observing children who are so proud of the recognition that they are getting for their creative endeavors makes the hours of work in writing the grant for funding, sorting through the hundreds and hundreds of poems, organizing the notifications and awards, and preparing for the event worthwhile. And we know we are helping them understand the importance of creativity in their lives.
Thursday is our celebration. I’m adding a page to the blog that has some P.O.P.P. artifacts. I will share some photos and some of the poems children have written. I think you will enjoy looking at the samples of children’s creativity.
As I said, P.O.P.P. is one of the signs for me of spring days ahead. It also assures me that we, along with parents and teachers, have had a little part in encouraging creativity in our children. As an avid reader and lover of fiction and poetry, I know that the future bed of poets and authors is being seeded.
It is pretty obvious that I will never receive the “blogger of the year” award. My resolution to blog at least once a month has withered, I’ve missed February. Aging is an interesting process. One element is how very quickly time passes. However, for the two or three of you who like sharing my blogs. I will be back more regularly. Thanks