Like our performances, our residencies are designed to help each school achieve the goals of its curriculum. Poetry Alive! develops each residency to fit the educational philosophy of the school. For greater effectiveness, we consult with teachers and administrators many times before ever visiting a school. This preparation allows us to set up a structure that teachers can use year after year.
Our goal is to introduce the concept of the "poem performance" as a mechanism for increasing the students' appreciation and understanding of poetry.
The Poetry Alive! In-school Residency usually involves a large number of students (around 150) whose goal will be to produce their own poem performance at the end of the residency. Typically, the team spends a week with the selected students in controlled workshops designed to prepare them for the Friday extravaganza.
Purchasing an In-school residency entitles the school to five "functions" each day conducted by the team. A "function" is defined as a performance, a student workshop, or a teacher workshop.
The nature of each residency depends on the number of students involved, the grade levels involved, and the scheduling needs and goals of each individual school. In order to ensure the quality of your students' educational experience, here are a few ground rules which must remain constant among any residency we do:
Poetry Alive! performers will perform 1, 2, or 3 shows on Monday morning for the entire student body. The rest of the week is spent in small workshop sessions. Perhaps one afternoon, teachers stay after school for a special teacher workshop. On Friday all interested students participate in a poetry show in which they perform individually and in groups. This final poetry extravaganza might take place in the afternoon as an in-school assembly or at night as a special presentation for the school's PTA.
The Poetry Alive! performers are the emcees for this final event, performing a few poems themselves and helping to make the show a success. Some schools choose to postpone this final show preferring a full week of classroom workshops. These schools typically conduct their own poetry performance showcases after Poetry Alive! has gone.
Performers enter the classrooms after the large assembly performance at the beginning of the week. The follow-up session will begin with a discussion of what the kids liked about the show.
Poetry Alive! will introduce kids to 3 or 4 performance points and use student volunteers to help demonstrate how to conduct themselves in front of an audience.
Poetry Alive! will introduce one, two, or three poems to the kids, which they will then perform as a group. Poetry Alive! personnel will end the session with summary and closure. They will also explain how the School assembly will be run.
Poetry Alive! hands copies of the poems performed during the session to the teacher on the way out. The teacher is asked to practice these poems with the kids throughout the week. Poetry Alive!, if there is time, will visit these classes a second time for 10 to 15 minutes to offer words of explanation and encouragement.
FIRST VISIT - Poetry Alive! begins as with the K-3 grades. We will cover more performance points, though, and go into much greater detail over stage conduct. We will also demonstrate how a poem can be turned into a theatrical script for performance. (The term "to script" means to divide the lines of a poem into speaking parts.)
Students are then asked to divide into their pre-assigned performance teams. Poetry Alive! members will circulate, offering advice when needed as the students divide the lines of their chosen poems. If necessary, Poetry Alive! will script the poems for certain groups. By the end of this first session, many of these performance teams will be on their feet "walking through" the poems.
SECOND VISIT - Students begin in their performance teams, on their feet as they practice performing their pieces. Poetry Alive! again offers advice and directorials notes where needed. The last half of this second visit is spent watching each team, one at a time, perform in front of the class.
Poetry Alive! offers each team director's notes and ideas as the other class members watch and offer advice.
Whether you choose poems for your students to perform or allow them to search for and choose their own will depend on what you hope to accomplish during the poem performance unit.
If you want your students to become familiar with library resources, for example, you would have them find their own. However, if you plan to conduct classes that use the poem performances as guided discussion starters or examples of specific literary devices, then you will probably want to choose the poems to be performed.
Narrative poetry is the easiest to act out, as are poems with lots of action. Do not limit your students to these however.
Then length of the poems used should complement the number of students in each performance team, the number of days allowed for preparation, student grade level, and student ability. A team of four average eighth graders will have a struggle to put together a 100-line poem such as Casey at the Bat. That same team of four eighth graders will not be challenged by a simple four-line poem.
Find a happy medium, but do not be overly concerned with length. Remember the object of poem performance is to read poems, not count lines.
For more information, or to book a residency for your school
please call us toll free at 1-800-476-8172!