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Those of you who have been around long enough may remember that I used to give you a ‘task’ every Tuesday to stimulate your creativity. Just a little something that could be done in a short time to remove some of those cobwebs from your creative channels. From that, Tuesday Tasks: 52 Activities Designed for an Entire Year of Creativity was born and is now selling online and in stores.
One of my personal favourites is what I call the Feelings Poem, an exercise I did when I was in grade 6. This morning I had the pleasure to go into my daughter’s grade 2 classroom and facilitate a mini poetry workshop using this poem. As an introduction to poetry, I asked the students to list reasons why people write them. Basically, the responses centred around:
– because it’s fun (YES! Enjoyment! It’s so important to do things simply because they are fun!)
– so we can tell people things (YES! Express ourselves – super important to be able to do this!)
– so we can make people happy (YES! Invoke feelings in others! I went on to explain that we can make people feel anything with the words we use…what a great lesson in kindness and a preventive measure for bullying.)
I also talked about the uniqueness of poetry: how even if two classmates decided to write on the same topic, their poems would be totally different because each of them is special. And that is SO AWESOME!
Poetry helps us describe things in a way that other people can relate to, even if they haven’t had the same exact experience as you. It’s like using words to paint a picture in other people’s heads. With an older group of kids, more time and without my toddler in class with me, I would have loved to go into more of a lesson on poetry. I’m realizing just how much I have to share about writing as a therapeutic tool of self-expression.
Here’s how the lesson went:
1. First we brainstormed a list of emotions: happy, sad, excited, surprised, worried, nervous, grumpy, scared, jealous etc. This is a great thing to do with children of all ages, but keep in mind that the younger ones will have a more limited vocabulary for their feelings. I wouldn’t spend too much time on this part for now – your child will be working with one emotion that he or she knows a lot about.
2. Next, each child chose an emotion and wrote it down in the first blank (see template below).
3. Then I asked everyone to close their eyes and think about the word they had just written – even imagine feeling it. I asked, “What colour is this feeling?” The colour went in the next blank.
4. We moved through the template, line by line, so that I could give a little prompt at the beginning: Think about the feeling you chose: if it had a smell, what would it smell like? etc.
5. The ‘And reminds me of _____’ was a bit tricky for this age group. I prompted by asking them to think of a memory associated with the feeling.
6. The last line should begin with the chosen feeling.
I’d love it if you’d try this with your child and then give me feedback on how it went. (Be sure to tell me how old your child is). Also, please do this yourself! It’s really fun and will let you stretch those creative muscles!
Stay tuned for more exercises and videos for kids and adults that will release your creative and authentic Self. To be sure not to miss anything, please sign up to receive my blog posts straight to your inbox, and receive a free mini e-book! Thank you 🙂