Well versed in utilizing the expertise of others…
As much as I’d like this blog to focus in the soccer May Term and the impending drama that will unfold when Captain Jake leads the mighty Gambia All Stars against Simon’s English Lions tomorrow, I feel pressed to take the opportunity to write about happenings elsewhere at ARTech.
Scott and Lori have been leading a poetry workshop in the afternoons. As with many of our May Term activities, this session has been notable for an innovative approach to the subject and a understanding that the learning will be enhanced by bringing expertise from outside. With student leadership from Ginger, the workshop opened with a two day visit from Diego Vasquez. Vasquez, poet and novelist, states on his website that “during my school residencies, I challenge students to explore the voice that they carry inside their heart.” I only managed to find time to talk briefly to Diego (he instructed me to read Charles Bukowski – and said that Bukowski would have liked to be a student at our school – a compliment, I think), and sit in on just some of the time he spent with the students. It was evident nonetheless that he had a profound impact on the students. Scott told me how impressed he was at Diego’s ability to inspire the students to create, and share, their poetry. I understand that Lori, Annie and Ginger are collaborating on a grant possibility to invite Diego back to ARTech in the fall.
The poetry May Term has also drawn on the volunteer help of parents to enhance the experience for the students. It will take another post of some length to highlight the many volunteers who have made all the different May Term activities a success. In this instance, Mark M-D was drafted in to help construct a renga platform. No idea what a renga platform is? Nor had I until, my curiously piqued, I had Scott and Lori explain. A renga platform is used as place for poets to gather, converse and compose. Renga, like the haiku, is an traditional Japanese poetry form (twenty verses, comprised of alternate haikus and couplets) the theme of which centers on the natural world. The group I observed on the renga platform was engaged in a quite delightful collaborative process to create a renga on the theme of seasons.