The students entered that wonderful space of focus again this afternoon as we continued working on our found poems in altered books. As someone who has spent a lot of time with teenagers in various indoor, outdoor, private, and public school classrooms, I can say that no matter where you are or what population of students you’re working with, there is a distinct sound teens make when they’re focused like this. I like to call it the ecstatic hush and it’s truly exciting to hear. A little tremor of creativity seems to be traveling upward from the core of the Earth and out through their fingertips. It gains speed as it moves and at times the classroom almost feels as if it’s floating. They’ve taken off, so to speak, and in my best moments as a teacher I am not needed for teaching at all.
We hovered in that space for a time this afternoon, but scheduling is tricky at Interlochen and I had to rush them through the final stages of their work. Still, some process photos demonstrate what I’m talking about:
[Notice the boom boom boom boom text and complimentary explosive artwork around it.]
We concluded with an off-the-cuff-outta-time-open-mic where half a dozen students read their work as they stood in front of The Great Room’s mantelpiece decorated with found poems in altered books. Lastly, we moved their poems into their classrooms to decorate the windowsills. A few finished pieces:
Or a personal fave of mine, a student who tore pages from a child psychology book and “found” the following poem:
One hears gunshots
violence is plentiful
virtue is vulnerable
the world is painful to hear.
But most loss is
growth of strength.
What can we do?