by Cassidy Kao, Academy Student
IEA Academy helped me start teaching others and supported me by hosting my poetry workshops, for which I’m very honored and grateful. The most recent workshop that I led at Academy was “Shakespeare’s Tragedies and Sonnets,” based on my most recent book, Retelling Shakespeare’s Tragedies: Along with a Collection of Sonnets, Quatrains, and Riddles.
In this latest workshop, I taught students about William Shakespeare then moved onto the characteristics of his tragedies and Macbeth, the star tale of the workshop. Students acted out a scene from the play. Since it was a small class, I played one of the characters and we invited parents to join in so they could provide sound effects! Afterward, I introduced them to the sonnet, and the complicated way that Shakespeare wrote his. Because of the complexity of sonnets, we wrote the first part of a sonnet together so students could take it home and continue writing. To wrap it up, there was a short insult contest where they used words that Shakespeare once used for fun to construct their own Shakespearean insults! It was a really fun class and I hope they left knowing more than they had before.
Conducting workshops like this one is what I do for iPoetTree. iPoetTree is an organization I recently created with the objective to help young, reluctant writers to love writing through poetry. This all started when I was eight. To celebrate National Poetry Month, I wrote a poem a day throughout the month and grew my own Poet Tree on the wall of my hallway. I later published my first book with all of the poems I wrote and instructions on how to write different types of poems. Then, I wrote another book, and another, and another! Most of the books that I wrote included some sort of poetry since poetry was the very thing that started the whole journey. I taught free workshops in my community based on the theme of my books and the poetry that was included in the books. I enjoyed this so much that I decided to create iPoetTree and the website to go along with it.
You can find my website at www.iPoetTree.org, where your children will learn how to write different types of poems by watching videos I created. After they watch the videos, they can write their own poems and share them with other young writers on the website. I created a curriculum of five levels, with about three to four different types of poems in each, and grouped them by level of difficulty. At the end of each school year, I will select a collection of poems and publish them in a book to help the authors of the selected poems become published.
Please go to my website and help your children sign up and start learning poetry! I really enjoy teaching and, some day, I hope to train others to teach workshops of their own so that I can reach out farther than my community and teach more kids the joy of writing.
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