Day 128, Monday, April 14, 2008
Today something happened that every teacher loves: I stumbled upon a new and exciting activity for my students. Last week, just for fun, I asked the 8th grade students to write a sonnet, a type of poem that is challenging for even the most accomplished poets. I had never before given an assignment like this, mostly because I thought it would be far too difficult for my young students. My decision to offer the task last week was really a serendipitous one, just a wild idea that maybe the kids could have some fun with it, and maybe, who knows, a few good lines of poetry might emerge. Well, little did I realize how much formal sonnet-like poetry exists in these 13-year-olds. I was touched, inspired, and astonished by some of the poems they turned in. Many of the lines flowed like melodies, and a great number of the rhymes were done in a truly deft and subtle manner. I read a few of the sonnets aloud to the students, and I think they were as surprised as I was. Now, as I type my journal entry at my desk later in the day, I wonder how this kind of thing happens. How does a teacher who has been practicing his art for upwards of 30 years somehow happen, just by chance, upon a marvelous new teaching tool? Where has the tool been all these years? And how many more are there for me to discover??