Lessons Learned: Middle School Poetry

It is a beautiful crisp fall morning in the Carolinas. The sun has just found its place in the skyline and it is around 8:00 am. A web of 8th graders is sprawled all over the grassy area behind my classroom. Some are leaning against the large trees that speckle the grass, while others sit in the path that overlooks the small pond behind our building. Although it may seem crazy, my middle school students are writing brilliant poetry. That’s right, poetry – and they’re pretty good at it. I’m not sure if it is the glistening pond, damp grass, tall droopy trees, or the buzzing of the utility building behind us, but some of the best poetry that my students write comes from the days that we spend outside. Who would have thought?

My theory is that when you are forced to reflect on nature, it is hard to deny the beauty that our Creator has painted for us – especially in the fall. It seems to inspire even the most hardened of minds. I’ve learned that God is constantly speaking to us through people, and sometimes things around us. I see the gorgeous colorful fall trees and can almost imagine Him saying “I did this for you so that you would smile.” Well, I’m smiling – both because my students are writing wonderful poetry and because of God’s lovely painting that surrounds me.

As for how to encourage creativity in the depths of winter…I’m still working on that.


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