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What Happens at Our Poetry Cafe Opening

By Beth Newingham on May 7, 2012
  • Grades: 3–5

When parents and students first arrive at the Poetry Cafe, jazz plays in the background. Parents find their seats, and all guests are encouraged to fill small plates with delicious treats and their cups with freshly brewed coffee.

Once all students have arrived, students retrieve their poetry books from the classroom and take a seat to the right of the stage so that they can easily come to the stage when their name is called.

One at a time, we call the students' names and announce the title of their poem. They take their place on the stage and read their poem aloud from their book. Instead of clapping at the end of each poem, guests are asked to snap their fingers in honor of the true beatnik culture. Each student reads two original poems and one poem by an author he or she studied during poetry workshop in class.

Before students read their poems, they tell the audience the poetic devices (learned in class) that they should listen for while the poem is being read aloud. We put a helpful "Poetic Devices" card on a holder on each TV tray so that the audience knows the meaning of each poetic device.

Throughout the student readings we have "open mic" breaks where parents and siblings can read aloud their own poems or read a poem from a favorite author or book. The students love when their family members take part in our Poetry Cafe!

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