North Carolina poet Phillip Shabazz brought the joy of the written word to Pittsboro Elementary this season, and a good time was had by all–even some administrators!
Fourth-grade students were introduced to a number of different types of poems–rhyming couplets, lunes (3-line, 11-word poems), list poems, odes, and more. Mr. Shabazz also had students read poems out loud by artists like Shel Silverstein, Nikki Giovanni, and 2pac Shakur.
Prompting students to write their own poetry, Mr. Shabazz offered a menu of titles like Thrift Store, Gift Shop, Grumpy Things, Junk, and Treasure. He shared his own poem, “Shabazz’s Grumpy Things,” for a little inspiration. Then it was the kids’ turn to write. Shabazz gave the fourth-graders 10 minutes to create a poem using one of his titles.
After Mr. Shabazz called “time,” he chose student volunteers to share their poems with their classmates. One by one, they walked, shyly at first, to the front of room, to read their newly penned works of art. After the first couple of students had shared, hands went up all over the room, shyness pushed to the side.
While students were delighted by Mr. Shabazz and went about enthusiastically writing and reading their poems, there was something a little different going on the background of this residency. For the third year in a row, the Chatham Arts Council was participating in Big Night In for the Arts–and this season, the filming coincided with Mr. Shabazz’s residency at Pittsboro Elementary. A camera crew from WRAL joined one class to film a segment for the televised event a few weeks later. You can watch the whole segment here.
“Keep writing. You are the future voices of this country. Make sure your voice is heard–whether you’re in the city or the country. Make your life a work of art.
Make the best out of yourself.”
The kids weren’t the only ones inspired by the residency with Mr. Shabazz. Principal Watson and Assistant Principal Chutz sat in on some of the workshops–and on the last day, Mr. Chutz even shared a poem he wrote in honor of the class. That was a magical first for the Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative. The arts can move us all in unexpected ways!
This residency was powered by generous support from The Lily McCoy Voller Stargazer Fund.
Arts for Resilient Kids programming is made possible by partnerships with Chatham County Schools, Chatham County, the North Carolina Arts Council, and many individual, foundation, business donors.