Some Bach Elementary fourth graders have a unique connection to the United Nations now that their poetry and artwork are displayed on the UN website.
To celebrate World Water Day, Robin Gleason’s class spent a month writing water-inspired poetry and painting images of water.
The project was largely directed by Gleason’s student teacher, Evelyn Daughtery, an intern earning her Master of Arts in Educational Studies with Elementary Teacher Certification (ELMAC) at the University of Michigan.
Encouraged by her U-M professors to create a multi-faceted literacy unit for her students, Daughtery designed and taught a poetry unit for her fourth graders, and asked art teacher Kim Furey to help students create art with the theme of water.
“You can really think about water through a poetic lens, and use lots of descriptive language,” Daughtery said. “It also has a purpose, which is to educate people, engage people, to encourage them to appreciate and conserve water.”
Water is part of the fourth grade science curriculum, so the poetry unit tied nicely into that, said the 2007 Pioneer High School graduate.
Students picked their favorite poem from their notebook and superimposed the text over a painting of water they made in art class, where Furey had focused on impressionism.
“Not only that,” said Gleason, “but they recorded their voices reading the poems, so you can actually click on the links and hear the students read their own poetry reflecting the lessons about how to perform poetry as well as how to write it and of course, think of expressive language and what we call expensive words and using white space. We brought seashells in so they could think about how to write about a seashell. We talked about personification and metaphors and similes. We imaged shovels digging down deep into their soul to come up with their deepest, most personal thoughts about water.”
The poems are featured on the UN World Water Day website under the heading #WaterIs Poetry.