Every spring, The Cooper School’s students embark on an eight-week study of poetry, with individual units of curriculum for each grade level. They analyze how poets use literary devices to convey meaning through their writing and explore how language, structure, and meaning intersect. Two poems by each student are published in the school’s annual award-winning anthology, “Pass It On, A Collection of Children’s Poetry.”
At the annual “Pass It On” celebration, selected students read their poem aloud before an audience of over 300 and each poet receives a copy of the newly released edition. In preparation, students watch videos of professional poets reading their work aloud; they practice reading their own poems in big and small groups, analyzing the tone of their poem and discussing how that might change the way they read it. They also practice pacing their reading, speaking loudly and clearly, and presenting with emotion.
“I like writing poetry because you can write about what’s meaningful to you, and let other people know how you feel,” says fourth grader Camille Ollard.
Launched in 2008, the “Pass It On” anthology now showcases poetry submissions from school children throughout South Carolina, with sales proceeds of between $700-$900 going to student-selected national and international non-profit organizations.
“The opportunity to bring the magic and wonder of poetry into the hearts and minds of young writers and readers has been an honor,” says Director of Instruction and incoming Head of School Franci Bell. “It’s been an instrument of delight and an instrument of change that has shaped the culture and community of our school.”