The school shooting in Parkland, Florida happened during my Winter break. And I felt heart-broken… again. I hate dealing with these events in my classroom because I find it difficult to not be emotional or subjective about them. But I wanted to do something with my students.
So I chose to study a poem. Literature came to my rescue once again! I love poetry so much! And it was the right choice, even my students loved it and understood the hidden message of the poet and the real purpose behind his words.
What I did instead
I decided I didn’t want to talk about the events, just because I am not armed to do so, I’m not strong enough to do so and I’m afraid my political beliefs would be too obvious if I had to actually talk. So I decided to have someone else talk, a friend of mine who recorded a read-aloud of the poem, and to let the students do the talking. And it’s been a great lesson so far!
The poem I chose was written by Brian Bilston and it’s not the first time I’ve used one of his poems. I chose another one as an opening document in Piece of Cake 4e for the extraordinary chapter on refugees. If you don’t know this poet, I encourage you to discover his work! He’s fabulous!
My final project
My objective is to have my students write a poem that imitates Bilston’s one, not to define America this time, but to define school life. They’ve already come up with great ideas. I can’t wait to attend their brainstorming session on Friday or listen to their read-aloud versions recorded next Monday.
I plan on sending these poems (the written ones) to the teachers and students in Parkland, Florida.
And what about you?
Are you brave enough to deal with these school shootings with your students? How do you do that? Please share!