Last week I worked with a sixth grade class of about twenty students in a single session poetry workshop. When I introduced our topic, Hurricane Sandy, some of the boys said they wanted to write about the election instead, since after all, it was the morning of November 6. The students even started calling out some spontaneous, funny rhyming lines on the subject. But feeling rather tense about the possible outcome of the election and also wanting to stick to my lesson plan, I had them stay with the topic of the storm.
Once the election was over, I began playing with the question of how it could have become the focal point of a lesson in creative writing. What if the students were presented with a set of election rivals, but instead of real politicians like President Obama and Mitt Romney, they were funny combinations of rivals such as Cat and Dog vying for Best Pet, or Moon and Sun competing for Best Celestial Body, or Broccoli and Candy Bar facing off for Best Food. Students could break into two teams, each tasked with preparing materials for one of the candidates. It would be each team’s job to convince the “voters” that their candidate should win by producing materials such as a campaign slogan, a stump speech, a poster and maybe even a (non-negative!) TV ad. To accomplish this, students would have to combine creative thinking with humor and the art of persuasive writing. To conclude, each team might present their materials to another class to be followed by a mock election.
Loosen the twisting, powerful drops that splash
Loosen the monstrous gale of the wolf
Loosen the sound of the drums
Let the shredding winds go free!