This week and next I have a poetry residency at the Lyncrest Elementary School in Fair Lawn, NJ. I knew it was going to go well when I entered the building and saw the above sign. It's nice to be welcomed that way. This is a challenging residency because I'm working with three different grade levels—third, fourth, and fifth. So there's a good deal of juggling of lesson plans, plus the usual moving from room to room. So far I've only shown up at the wrong room twice. But it's all going really well. The teachers in this school are very friendly and enthusiastic. They all pay attention to what I'm doing and some of them also join in on the writing. I wish all teachers would do this as it's wonderful for the kids to see their teachers participating.
The kids are so excited about poetry. One boy today came up to me after class and said, "Wherever did you learn all those words?" He was quite impressed with my vocabulary in the poem I read. When I first started working as a poet-in-the-schools, I didn't feel comfortable reading my own poems to the kids. But now I try to read at least one of mine as it seems to get the kids very interested in me, my work, and poetry. It generates a lot of energy. So far all classes have written two poems. We've got poems about roses in a multitude of colors, outdoor image poems, and poems about fruits and vegetables. And more to come next week. Then I will lay low for a week and take lots of naps.