Langston Hughes: Dream Keeper, Poem Maker

Langston Hughes: Dream Keeper, Poem Maker

This assembly program shows the range of Hughes’ styles and themes through poetry, song, and movement. The students will perform the poems, helping the students discover their own dreams, how those dreams can be deferred and how, ultimately, they can be fulfilled. The principal texts are from “The Dream Keeper” and other poems, illustrated by Brian Pickney. Additional texts include poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Sam Allen, and Eloise Greenfield, as well as song lyrics by Sam Cook and Curtis Mayfield.

A writing workshop includes two to three writing prompts based upon Langston’s poems “Dream,” “Poem,” and “Motto.” The workshop can be offered as a stand-alone workshop, or a post-assembly workshop.

Mery Tomsick

Folk, Fun and Fairytales, a Musical Sing-Along Journey

This program is an introduction to folk music and folk musicians, including audience participation and sing-alongs to folk music and fairy tales.  Children will be introduced to the guitar, including the parts of the instrument and how it can be played (strumming versus finger picking).  Children will hear stories with musical components (piano/forte) and will sing and use hand signals to reinforce lyrics and melodies.  Songs and stories will feature fantasy creatures, such as dragons and unicorns and a musical trip on a bear hunt.

Who Else Will Write for Me?

Students begin by creating an original work of poetry and finish by making it into a dramatic performance. They will learn PIPES (Projection, Inflection, Pace, Eye Contact, Stance) skills needed for performance poetry and culminate with a spoken word reading, teaching them to transform their work into an artistic tool for self-expression. Teaching artist Ali McClain will expose students to various writing prompts (poetry, movie/TV clips, news, pop culture, etc.) for inspiration. Students will have the opportunity to provide critical feedback during the spoken word readings in an effort to improve performance techniques such as adding gestures for meaning, PIPES and overall content. Ali McClain will emphasize the importance of writing for oneself in order to have a voice in their community and even the world. In addition, students will be exposed to national young spoken word poets, local open mic venues and other resources for encouragement to continue writing.

The Art of Boards – Build a Poem Like Shakespeare or Dickinson

During your unit on Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson, your students may complain and ask, “Why do they talk so funny?” To appreciate the language of Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson, students need to understand poetic meter.  In this program, students will learn about meter and rhyme in the poetry of Shakespeare and/or Emily Dickinson by reading their poems as well as more recent and accessible examples of poetic verse. They will discuss the themes and structure of the model poems, and then write their own poem in meter to experiment with the form.

Lake Erie Ink also offers poetry workshops in spoken word, figurative language, and much more, and can customize a program to meet your students’ needs.

Character, Conflict, Action! – A Playwriting Workshop

Reading and writing plays is motivating to students of all abilities.  Writing and performing your own play not only gives students experience with dialogue and action but also develops reading and writing fluency and confidence. Play writing also helps students break out of the habit of writing fast summaries of their stories instead of real “showing writing,”  including scene and character development. Students will learn how character and conflict interact to create drama in a short play. LEI will lead students through the writing process, from developing a main character and dramatic conflict, through complicating the conflict with other obstacles, to resolving the play as a tragedy or comedy.  Students will learn the basic elements of play writing including dialogue and stage directions and may perform their play at the end of the project.

Lake Erie Ink also offers play writing adaptation workshops of fairy tales, folk tales, and myths or can create a customized program to provide experience and understanding of a variety of fictional genres.

Playful Poetry

Compliment a Poetry Journey performance with Playful Poetry, a residency or workshop that allows students to learn presentation and speech skills through theater games and writing activities focusing on rhyme, imagery, figurative language and narrative.

Poetic Expressions

Students build on ideas learned in the Poetry: Page to Stage performance as they script and score poems to set into motion. A deeper appreciation of poetry and improvement of language skills occurs while they create their own interpretations of poetry using poetic techniques: rhyme, imagery, figurative language and narrative.