Photos by Dianne Carroll Burdick
Byron Center — West Middle School seventh-graders took English class outside and ditched laptops and pencils for a more colorful writing tool: sidewalk chalk.
As part of their last unit, students learned about different poetic forms, tone, imagery and subject matter.
The Poetry Walk has been done in the spring for at least 10 years, English teacher Katie Tromp said. “The kids love it, and it’s nice to see kids expressing creativity and showing their interests in different ways.”
Among the sea of chalk poems, seventh-grader Jud Phillips wrote a free verse poem titled ‘Open Minded.’
“It’s about opening up about your feelings,” he said. “I just started writing and it came to me. I also listen to a lot of rap, so I focused on the rhyming.”
Some students also drew illustrations to accompany their poems.
Next to her poem “Bright Lights,” seventh-grader Lucy Marczek drew a sun and a flashing camera to represent “different kinds of light in the world.”
Lastly, the young poets were tasked to find a classmate’s poem to analyze for its elements and what the poet did well.
During the final minutes of class, English teacher Craig Schalk reminded his students they would be quizzed on poetry the next day.
He enjoyed getting outside of the classroom for this lesson, especially when the weather is nice.
“Writing and working outside of the classroom allows for movement and creativity,” Schalk said. “Knowing they’re showcasing their work for others to read holds them accountable to write something they’re proud of.”