April already has been busy for students at Toledo’s Christ the King School. In celebration of National Poetry Month, school officials have planned out many daily and weekly activities aimed to teach students more about poetry.
Pink paper pig cutouts line the school’s hallways and doorways urging students to “Pig Out on Poetry,” which is the themed title of the month.
Events include a Poem Read Aloud Day, a Book Swap, and a Family Group Day. The month will conclude with a final activity on April 30, called Poem in Your Pocket Day, in which students will be asked to carry poems in their pockets and share them with family, friends and other students throughout the school day.
Fourth-grade teacher Cindy Church said the program helps build cohesion among the grade levels. The program’s first week featured Buddy Reading Day, in which older students read with younger students.
“It builds community between the older and younger students. It does help them,” she said.
Christ the King's resident published author and teacher, Cindy Roberts, who goes by the pen name C.M. Millen, has conducted workshops for each classroom. She is the author of several children’s books, including The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane and A Symphony for the Sheep.
Ms. Roberts said educating students about poetry’s expansiveness is important.
“It touches your heart. Poetry is just fun. Poetry is accessible to all ages. Human beings are naturally poetic,” she said.
Several writing activities, including library-based exercises, have also been planned for the month.
“We have the best library. It’s just outstanding. There’s a big emphasis here on reading,” Ms. Roberts said.
Marilyn Machosky, one of the school’s librarians, said Ms. Roberts has been instrumental in planning and coordinating the month’s activities.
“She’s a treasure. We have her as a resource,” she said.
The enthusiasm and passion of both women were clear Friday when four second-grade girls presented Mrs. Machosky with a handwritten poem. As one of the girls read it, the librarian stood next to her, smiling and listening, while Ms. Roberts moved throughout the room listening.
“It helps when you get everybody on board,” Mrs. Machosky said. “I love that they wrote a poem.”
Contact Kelly McLendon at: firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6522 or on Twitter @KMcBlade.