In January of 2021, I was hired by a company then known as Tiny Broadway as a Teaching Artist. In working for this company, I would develop and perform interactive social emotional learning (SEL) workshops with students live streamed in classrooms. I did this for over a year, making each workshop better and better, and teaching students foundational reading and writing skills while working through SEL skills.
I developed a poetry workshop for grades pre-k through 2nd grade. Yes, I had pre-k and kindergarteners writing poetry. Crazy, right? Wrong.
The students picked up the concept of poetry very quickly and the trick was, I used theater as a medium to teach. I would literally bring the poems we made to life. Then I gave them a very simple structure to construct their own free verse poems.
They could use words, drawings, or a combination of both and by the end of our four week workshop, each student would perform their poem. We would brainstorm together and even write poetry that we would act out together. In doing this, I found I was writing a lot of poetry, unintentionally.
My students would spark an idea within me, I would write it down in class and from there the idea of Letters From The Farm was born.
I thought to myself, where is the modern day children’s poetry that students can connect to? And more importantly, by black authors? I couldn’t find it, and so I wrote it. I had workshopped the book and after many rewrites I finally finished my book. But this is only the beginning piece to my adventure.
I want my book to be utilized in the primary school space to teach students poetry and different poetic elements. The book is a free verse poetry book with many different poetic types and elements introduced throughout. The goal is to inspire young writers, especially those of color.