Thursday, June 3, 2010

Poetic Commencements

As we approach the end of the school year, I am always thinking about how I am going to send off my seniors. I like to step back from the role of teacher during the last couple of classes that we have together and focus on their memories and allow them to say a proper goodbye to their public education.

Some of my students will go straight to college after high school, but others will leave education for good. With this in mind, I want to give students a little time to reflect on the past four years of their education, the high school years. To do this, we have:

Created Six Word Memoirs

Drafted Commencement Speeches (To be read for our final)

Completed an End-of-Year Survey

Finished the Sounds of Senior Year Soundtrack (Cover Art as Picture Insert)

And, there are other ways to say goodbye. has a whole section of their site devoted to graduation poems. On this list, there are a whole range of poets and poems represented, from William Shakespeare to Langston Hughes to Emily Dickinson.

I am glad that I've taken the time and put some effort into saying a formalized "goodbye" to my seniors. I think that they have benefited from having the opportunity to reflect on their public school years. It is amazing to think that thirteen years of their short lives have been spent with us. Congratulations, seniors. We will miss you and are proud of you!


  1. I write 6 Word Memoirs with my elementary school-aged homeschool students. It reminds me of my old teacher's saying that "concision is its own reward....."

  2. I teach Creative Writing for juniors and seniors and I've been thinking about what the class could do for them as a final "goodbye" before they go off to college. Our seniors graduate early, at the end of May, but I like the idea of doing some kind of poetic memoir. I am going to assign a senior to each junior, and each junior will have to write something for that particular person. In addition, seniors will write goodbye memoirs to the class.

    Also, since we are discussing poetry, I am trying to come up with a final project to end my poetry unit for my Creative Writing class. So far, I have a few ideas but I would like some more suggestions so that students have a wide range of choices.
    My ideas so far are:
    1.) Write a rap using the poetic terms we have reviewed in class. Record the rap and play it for us on presentation day.
    2.) Create a visual representation of your best poem using Prezi or another Web 2.0 tool.
    3.) Create an online book of poetry.
    Any other ideas??? I'm open to anything and everything!

    -Meg Whitlock


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