Who knew poetry could be so much fun? That’s what students at The Learning Center! Charter School were saying after they participated in workshops with names like, “Kaboom Poetry,” “Purple Pizza from Pluto” and “Rhymes Around the World” to name a few. In late February, professional poet, author and writer-in-residence, Michael Beadle was brought to The Learning Center! Charter School, courtesy of a grant through the North Carolina Arts Council.
The Grassroots Arts Program Grant provides per capita-based funding for arts programming to all counties across North Carolina and was awarded to the school to help fund visiting artists like Beadle. The poet’s workshops are one of the highlights of the school’s annual celebration called,Academics and the Arts. This celebration is designed to heighten awareness of arts in education by bringing in area artists, offering performances and competitions across all areas of the arts.
Poet and professional journalist, Michael Beadle came to the school as an artist-in-residence and gave a total of four days of workshops. He has published more than 1,500 articles for newspapers and magazines and won several awards from the N.C. Press Association. Since 1998, he has performed and taught poetry in schools, festivals and conferences throughout North Carolina.
Beadle engaged fifth through eighth graders with workshops and gave two poetry shows for kindergarten through fourth grades. The poetry show, called “KABOOM Poetry” exposes students to techniques for performing poems by using gestures, audience participation and stylish presentation.
“Purple Pizza from Pluto” was a workshop Beadle served up to fifth graders using poems as a way to understand poetry techniques like rhyme, alliteration and metaphor. A “Parody Poetry” workshop got sixth graders exploring lyrics as they learned to take a familiar song or poem and substitute new words and phrases while keeping the original rhythm. Seventh graders enjoyed “A Picture Worth A Hundred Words” where they learned how to write “flash fiction” and prose poems that invoke personal reactions to the images we encounter. Eighth graders got to play “Mad Men” with “The Art of Advertising”– a workshop focusing on the history of advertising, propaganda, and persuasive techniques used to draw people to a message or product.
“Michael Beadle has such a creative method of introducing contemporary and classical poetry to students,” said director of the school, Mary Jo Dyre. “His diverse range, from raps about basketball to the timeless verses of Shakespeare, creates an exciting approach to the writing process.”
The Grassroots Arts Program Grant enabled artist-in-residence Michael Beadle to impact over 200 students and staff members. The Learning Center! thanks the Cherokee County Arts Council and its director, David Vowell, for connecting schools with the Grassroots Arts Program Grant.