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By Colbey Waggoner, 2nd grade educator

Each spring, the second graders of Sycamore host Poetry Night, a tradition when families gather together in celebration of young poets and their artistic creations. In the months leading up to Poetry Night, we explore the various poetic elements, write many poems, and find our own poetic voice to bring emotion and rhythm to our presentations. On the special night, the class proudly presents their collection of poems to our community.

To launch our poetry journey this winter, we invited someone who is passionate and quite talented when it comes to all things poetry - current 5th grader, Lily.

Lily presented at Poetry Night as a second grader in 2019.

Lily has been known to create remarkable and original poems. Recently, Lily submitted a poem titled “What do Trees Wonder?” to a publishing company. In November 2022, her poem will be published among several hundred other poems by elementary children in the The Young American Poetry Digest. Needless to say, we were extremely excited when Lily agreed to lead the second graders in their own poetry exploration this February.

Lily reflected on her experience in writing.

I loved teaching the second graders. They were amazing listeners, and I was surprised when they made many connections between the poems I read and the poetic elements I shared after. We had interesting conversations and together made creative examples of each poetic element. We dived into Haikus and had fun writing a collaborative poem about our calm creek and noisy parakeets. Everyone contributed and we played around with syllables, eventually creating a beautiful poem. They started working on poems of their own in their Haiku diaries. I hope I can come back soon to see what inspiring work they create!

Overall, our poetry introduction with Lily was a tremendous learning experience for us all. One 2nd grader shared, “Even in normal (not COVID times) school, we don’t have lessons with 5th graders.” Another student shared, “I didn’t know anything about haikus and that there were so many different types of poems. It felt pretty good learning that from Lily.”

At Sycamore, we often come together to collaborate, play, and reflect with our peers. Learning from a peer who is truly compassionate and connected to the subject seemed to create much more of an authentic and intimate learning environment.

Since February, Lily has popped in from time to time to check-in on our poetry journey, giving us a quick bit of feedback, and celebrating our successes. Each of us are eagerly looking forward to sharing our poems at Poetry Night in April, and finding ways that we too can share our passions and expertise with our peers.


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