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St. Luke’s Fifth Grade Poets Learn From Renowned Writer

By: Elaine Juran, Fifth Grade English Teacher
On April 13, St. Luke’s fifth graders participated in a poetry reading during the Third Annual Fifth Grade Poem Party with poet-in-residence Georgia Heard. As parents and members of the St. Luke’s community watched, the Class of 2029 poets inspired us with their innovative writing and wise reflections. 

Members of the Class of 2029 have studied and written poetry throughout the year. In April, our student poets had the privilege to work with the accomplished poet Georgia Heard, our poet in (virtual) residence. Heard, an internationally renowned author, writes for both children and teachers. Among her many accolades and accomplishments, she was a founding member of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. 

In four sessions over a two-week period, Heard worked with our students to sharpen their drafting and revision skills and nurture their passion for poetry. Using rhythmic and descriptive language, students learned to analyze works of art, such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and write ekphrastic poems. They also wrote from the perspectives of other people and objects, which are known as persona poems. 

In writing workshops, the student poets were encouraged to choose their own topics. Thus, the students’ poems incorporated their varied interests, special memories, insightful observations, and heartfelt concerns. Under the guidance of Ms. Heard, students also wrote heart mantras — affirmations that help individuals remember that they are unique and not alone. Heart mantras also help to promote self-care. Students were encouraged to keep the heart mantras close by during the school day. Even parents participated in the poetry showcase and wrote heart mantras for the children

The last two weeks of reading and writing poetry helped bring everyone into a collective embrace and reminded us of the unique community that is St. Luke’s School. Thank you to Ms. Heard, Head of Middle School Amber Berry, and St. Luke’s for supporting this learning and co-teaching initiative. 

Most importantly, thank you, fifth graders. Your poems provided your audience with both an escape and connection. Congratulations, poets!  

To see additional photos from the poetry showcase, click here.
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St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving over 35 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.