“I saw growth in many of the students’ confidence in speaking and reading in front of each other.”
Audra, an accomplished singer-songwriter, uses her love of and experience with music in her creative writing pedagogy as a Writer-in-Residence with InsideOut. Oftentimes, she has her younger students write group songs to build community and creativity in the classroom. Below, she talks about an inspirational moment with some kindergartners at Marcus Garvey Academy:
“When you are working with kindergarteners, you never know what is going to happen. We had been working on a song using metaphors for I am… I am a river, I am a storm, I am a light.
This class was a challenge and some days I would have to abandon the lesson and use other strategies to engage these energetic students. This day was the very last day and because of these challenges the class wasn’t ready to sing their song in a full-on performance setting. I didn’t want them to miss hearing the finished song though.
So I said I would sing it all the way through. One child asked to join me and he know all the words by heart and sang it next to me the whole time. It brought the teacher to tears to see this little one’s confidence. He inspired the whole room and by the end of the song, other children that had not joined before were singing loudly and proudly.”
Even though her class was full of energy and a bit rambunctious at times, Audra saw a lot of improvement in their writing and performance skills.
“I saw growth in many of the students’ confidence in speaking and reading in front of each other. We were able to create some rituals that brought focus, and the teacher began using some of the strategies that I shared.”