Thursday, January 15, 2015

Poetry Friday - Memories

            Irene Latham is also celebrating Martin Luther King Day with three wonderful poems, as she hosts the Poetry Friday roundup at Live Your Poem.  Thanks, Irene!

At my school, in addition to students studying individual unit topics, each class wings its way through the year investigating a class unit topic. The class I am now teaching is studying power this year. When I started teaching this group, they had already examined energy power. Lately, I have moved them into more abstract examinations of power, like the analysis of power in fairy tales. 




This week, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, we've read articles and some poems about the lasting power of Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech, now fifty-two years ago. Thursday, we held a final discussion of our ideas of why the speech is still powerful in our lives. I discovered an article by Nikki Giovanni written two years ago after the fiftieth anniversary. It seemed to be a favorite of the students. I was pleased that when we made our list of reasons this speech and the day continued to be an important part of our lives, the power of words in the speech was brought up more than once, along with this poem by Nikki Giovanni. It is a remembrance of the anniversary. 

                                                        We, Too

                                                     I was home
                                                  in Lincoln Heights
                                                 Named for Abraham
                                              As many other small black
                                                   Communities are

           The article and the rest of the poem can be found here. These students are learning more and more about Dr. King, and the power of words, yet more real in their lives are the heartbreaking events of Michael Brown's death and the events at Ferguson. Sadly, these are their times, will be their memories. I hope those memories will be replaced by the power of love spoken about by Martin Luther King: ""Love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend." 

photo credit: Newtown grafitti via photopin cc

23 comments:

  1. Linda, this article is a GIFT. Thank you for sharing! We, too, serve by sharing these things with the world (and students) through poetry and this community. There are many ways to be brave. I am trying to remember that every day. Love to you, friend! xo

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    1. Thank you, Irene. It was such a wonderful 'gift' to me to find Nikki's words! Have a wonderful day hosting!

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  2. POWERful teaching moments, Linda! So true that Martin's words have just as much of an impact on our kids (and all of us) now as they did 52 years ago - hopefully more change will come from sharing. Thank you! =)

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    1. It's quite wonderful to think of the legacy he left. We are fortunate for it.

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  3. "We,Too" speaks to so many of us.
    Knowing your students' response to understanding that historic time lifts me up, Linda.
    The synchronicity of this post is something I have to share - last evening (Thurs. Jan. 15, the actual birthday of MLK, Jr. my husband & I attended a museum event here where FREEDOM RIDERS was show. And that is a movie I came across in reading the rest of "We,Too" & following the links.
    Such a teaching & thoughtful post.

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    1. I'll need to look for it, Jan. Thank you for telling me.

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  4. Love the idea of focusing on power and, of course, on EMpowering your students to think about their own lives too!

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    1. Yes, certainly the connection to self is a priority, too, Katie. Thanks for seeing that, too.

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  5. Thanks for sharing Nikki's poem and that wonderful article about her. I had the pleasure of hearing her read at a local library years ago. The exploration of "power" with your students sounds like it's engendering many spirited discussions and lasting impressions. Hopefully the "power" of tragic events like those at Ferguson will raise awareness and trigger change.

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    1. Jama, thanks for looking at the 'positive' of Ferguson, that its power may cause change.

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  6. Wonderful poem, wonderful post. It's so exciting that students see the power in the language. Thank you for leading them on this journey!

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    1. Thanks Renee, I enjoyed sharing and talking about this with my class.

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  7. Power would be an interesting OLW -- I like how you offered your students a glimpse of the different facets of this word. The article is well-written -- her student captured her voice beautifully.

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    1. Wow, I wonder if anyone has used 'power' as an OLW? What a word to contemplate through a year! Thanks, Keri.

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  8. Yes! There's no power as strong as the power of love!

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  9. When I grow up, I want to teach in a school like yours...

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    1. Lots of work, lots of joy! Thanks, Mary Lee. From all I read of what you do, you make these things work, too!

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  10. I love that you and your students are studying "word power," Linda! Thanks for sharing the "We, Too" poem!

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  11. Wow, Linda. What a great topic of study for your students. The idea of power is so rich, and it runs throughout science, culture, history, and literature. I bet you're enjoying all the discoveries you and the children are making.

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  12. How wonderful that you are able to take a deeper look at our world with your students, Linda. I get so tired of hearing about all the surface-skimming and teaching to the test that goes on in schools, and teachers caught between a rock and a hard place.

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  13. Thank you, Becky, Laura & Michelle. I am fortunate to have students who are "empowered" to choose what directions they might take in their studies, & as their teacher, can open new ideas & worlds to them in their learning journeys. Next stop-the power of art! Wish you could come along...

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  14. My daughter had an MLK unit last year for her Geography class where she compared the words of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. The message of love, peace, nonviolence of MLK gets her everytime, as it does me. Such graciousness of spirit and such big words. I love seeing what your students do here. :)

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Having a conversation is a good thing!