As teachers and teaching artists all over the country ramp up into a new school year, its time to think about arts in the classroom and how they encourage critical thinking and creativity.
In addition to writing poetry and YA, I also teach through a program called WITS: Writers in the Schools. Although I’ve taught nearly every grade, I’m currently focused on young writers in grades 3-5. The poem in this week’s WITS tumblr post by one of my 5th grade students, Paulina Alvarez Gamez, resulted from a workshop in which we practiced using metaphor by turning objects in our classroom into animals. We even worked with extended metaphor by turning the classroom itself into a jungle, forest or ocean floor.