A Week Of Reading Comprehension and Poetry


Oct 21-Nov 3


Hey there! If you’re new here, welcome! That makes two of us. I’m Christopher Ferreiras, otherwise known as Mr. Chris at Sanidas Academy, and while I know you’re here for the breakdown of In Class, I’d first like to introduce myself. I wear a few hats at Sanidas Academy, as all our teachers do, but my go-to hat is “English & Writing Teacher” for the second to fifth grade students. I am a lover of words, language, all things art and all things self expression, so it’s always rewarding to see my students in their creative elements as well as their academic.

To me, creativity and academia go hand in hand, so of course, the first hour of class is divided into fifteen minutes of easy going snack time and forty five minutes of homework. Considering that the varying loads of homework can range from math to reading, writing and studying, individualizing my approach with each student can make anyone feel like a ball of yarn pulled every which way, but it’s a good opportunity for me to find threads in the work students are already doing and weave it into Sanidas’ curriculum.

As usual, the students were prepped and challenged to succeed on their own mid-term math exams and weekly vocabulary tests. When it comes to Math homework and test prep, the students are encouraged to work independently and prepare to review what they’ve learned per unit in a comprehensive one-on-one session with Mr. S. For their vocabulary tests, the students were asked to define the words of the week, write a sentence using the words and find synonyms for each. I find that by urging the students to think in these dimensions, they not only solidify their knowledge of the words, but their understandings as well.

On that note, as part of solidifying their knowledge of language and meaning, the students have been learning how to write and structure couplet poems—from keeping a consistent syllable count to rhyming—making sure the lines don’t only rhyme, but also make sense. I’ve always found that poetry is how you really get to know the language you possess, so I think as a creative process the students can really benefit from playing with language in poetry.

As a poet, it’s really important to me that students are introduced to poetry at an early age; to open their minds so they know that the medium is not only there for them, it is them. A lot of kids naturally turn their little urges of creativity into imagery like doodles, but it’s just as valuable that they recognize that there are other ways for self expression to manifest—like poetry. And like a doodle, all it takes is a good corner of the page, a fine pencil, some words, and a little heart.

The students really took to the challenge of Couplet writing and transcended the structure of two lines into Quatrains, and even further still into their own original rhyme schemes. As part of opening their minds to the idea of imagery, the students were asked to draw what the poems meant to express. And so a new hybrid of self expression was born—picture poems!

Since we’ve introduced poems, the students have not stopped asking for more lessons! Which is such a great sign. Who said poetry is dead, right?

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Stavros Sanidas