Love: Whose line is it anyway? Richmond Consolidated School students submit entries to NPR's 'What is love?' segment for Valentine's Day


RICHMOND — Love is ...


Recess, it is so fun!

Like college, it's hard to get into but when you do it's great.

On Monday morning, the Richmond Consolidated School student body shared their thoughts on the subject as part of a schoolwide effort to generate entries for the National Public Radio "What is Love?" segment, set to air on Thursday's "Morning Edition."

Late last month, NPR put out a call to teachers to give their students the prompt, "Love is ..." and produce a line or a whole poem — either written or as a voice memo — for possible use on the segment, which is being produced with poet and educator, Kwame Alexander.

Julia Sabourin, the school's response to intervention specialist for grades 4-8, heard the call to action while driving to school one morning, and thought it would be neat to have each grade submit a line for a longer poem.

"RCS focuses on a central mission, CARES (Cooperation, Assertion, Respect/Responsibility, Empathy, Self-control), and it seemed to me like a "Love is ..." school poem would support our social-emotional mission," she said.

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But when she brought the idea to her Professional Learning Community at the school, which includes Grade 3 teacher Beth Smith, grades 4-5 English language arts and social studies teacher Cameron Arace, and grades 6-8 ELA teacher Rachel Kanz, they said, "How can we choose just one" line from each grade? So they asked for lines from every student in the school with the idea to then to arrange the responses into a series of love poems.

The preschool and kindergarten students were asked to respond to the simple "Love is" prompt.

Students in grades 1 and 2 were asked to respond to the following descriptive prompts: "Love smells like," "Love sounds like," "Love feels like," "Love tastes like," "Love looks like."

Students in grades 3 through 5 were asked to practice their use of figurative language to create lines, while the upper grade levels, 6 through 8, were invited to freestyle their poetic entries.

Last week, the eighth-graders sorted through more than 175 lines, each written on a note card, and then arranged them by theme to create 17 original collaborative poems.

On Monday morning, the entire student body got together to work in small multi-grade groups to record readings of the poems. The older students were invited to mentor the younger students to help them practice reading the lines. Then, each group did a choral reading together for the recording.

"All of the poetry recordings have been submitted to NPR and we are now excitedly awaiting Valentines Day," Sabourin said.

In a note to teachers, Sabourin told her colleagues, who all helped to prepare their respective students for the project, "Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility. We are doing our best to make this successful. It won't be perfect but it is exciting that our whole school, including students who are 3 years old all the way to 14 years old, is entering a national poetry competition!"


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