WordPlay Cincy helps local kids put a fresh—and green—spin on National Poetry Month



April in Northside: Poet Trees Inspire Walks in the Parks

WordPlay Cincy helps local kids put a fresh—and green—spin on National Poetry Month.

The sun is shining, ideas are budding and the energy is palpable in Ms. Willis’ bustling third grade classroom at Chase Elementary School. WordPlay Writer-In-Residence Elese Daniels is leading students in a very special creative writing workshop based on the poem Knoxville, Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni, the award-winning poet who grew up in Cincinnati.

“I always like summer best…” Elese starts, and with her voice wrapping around the syllables of each word, she reads the whole poem. The spirit that she exudes matches the children’s in intensity, but with the soothing positivity of experience and reflection. She leads the class through conversation: “Think of your favorite place. Is it a neighborhood? A room in your house? Can you use your senses to describe it?”

“Sight, touch, taste, smell, sound and emotions; we truly have six senses,” she says. And the kids begin to chatter as they compose their own poems. They learn the most important lessons of WordPlay: Your experiences have meaning; your feelings are beautiful; and your ideas are important. Yes, you are a writer and a member of our community, and your thoughts are valued.

The workshops showed students a different side to writing, one that didn’t feel like work. “It was nice to take advantage of the students having the freedom to just write with no pressure, no judging, and no follow up test,” Ms. Willis says. “They were fully engaged, worked independently and enjoyed sharing their finished product.”

WordPlay representatives visited all of the third through sixth grade classrooms at both Chase Elementary School and Parker Woods Montessori, infusing each one with creative writing in preparation for National Poetry Month.

The students’ poetic responses will be displayed as hanging ornaments adorning WordPlay’s signature “Poet Trees” at Hoffner Park and the Northside Public Library, starting April 1st. Passers-by are encouraged to pluck the free poems and share the children’s work.

Keep your eyes open for the students’ free poems for the neighborhood throughout the month of April, and be sure to share your reactions with us online at facebook.com/wordplaycincy.


Workshops: Comforting Words

Desirae “The Silent Poet” Hosley will present one teen and one K-8th grade writing workshop for both new and currently enrolled young writers to bring their guardians to WordPlay. Adults will be guided in creating letters of comfort and advice for their youths, and young writers will be encouraged to write letters of advice for their future selves. Then they will share their work. Teen Workshop: Sat., April 15, 1-3pm. K-8 Workshop: Sat., April 29, 12-1pm. FREE AND OPEN TO ALL AGES

Ride for Reading

WordPlay Cincy, SPUN Bicycles and Adopt A Book partner annually to create a bike-ride through the city that delivers hundreds of free books to children at a local school. This year they'll be giving books to the lucky students of Walnut Hills' Frederick Douglass Elementary. Fri., May 12, 12:30-1:30pm. Please contact info@wordplaycincy.org if you can volunteer to help sort books prior to the event, want to ride your bike with books from downtown to Walnut Hills on May 12, or can hand out books at Frederick Douglass Elementary.

Reba Hennessey is Director of Development & Communications for WordPlay Cincy, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located at 4041 Hamilton Ave. in Northside. For more information about WordPlay’s programs, events, enrolling a child in grades K-12, providing support or becoming a volunteer please call (513) 541-0930, visit www.wordplaycincy.org or email info@wordplaycincy.org.

#childrensprograms #schoolbasedprograms #poettree #chaseelementary

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