“3 Minute Poet” is exactly what it sounds like– a non-threatening way to get kids writing. The teacher provides the title (in this case “your name”) and starts the timer. The rest is up to the students. Here’s a wonderful piece by a Davis Academy 5th grader (now rising 6th grader), Isabella McCullough. It’s reprinted here with parental consent.

Isabella McCullough

creatively weird

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haven’t opened the door,

but I’ve freed my mind.

clash with the heart,

the true me is still there.

If you’re looking for me

I’ll be anywhere

I’m an unfinished

book

an open-ended fairy tale

I am who I am

Isabella’s poem and the context in which it was written (“3 minute poet”) illustrates a simple but important point:

Every child is a poet.

“I know I saw that book in here somewhere!”

 

When it comes to kids it can be hard to make sweeping generalizations. Not every kid is a math whiz, or a polyglot, or an app developer, or competent with a hair brush. But I do think there are some things we can say about “every child.”

Every child is an artist.

Every child is a philosopher.

Every child is a theologian.

Every child is an actor.

Every child is a dancer.

Every child is a nature-lover.

Every child is an explorer.

Every child is a comedian.

Every child is a skeptic.

Every child is a teacher.

Every child is a boundary pusher.

Every child is a truth speaker.

The Talmud teaches that the world is sustained by the breath of schoolchildren. When we pause and consider the wonderful qualities and traits of our children, it’s hard to disagree.

Whether we live out our responsibilities towards children as parents, teachers, school administrators, or simply as caring adults who look to future generations to make the world a better place, we should ask how we are helping cultivate these characteristics and traits in our children.

 

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