By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Forgive Saltillo Elementary students for feeling a little nervous on Thursday night.
They were, after all, performing for more than 100 people.
Three classes of third- and fourth-graders from the school hosted a poetry night in the Barnes and Noble cafe. The area was crowded with parents and grandparents as the students read Haikus and limericks they had written.
“I was a little shy,” said third-grader Caleb Clark, 9. “Sometimes I don’t like being on stage.
“(Afterward) I felt good. I felt that I had accomplished one of my goals.”
The event was a collaboration of about 20 third-graders in Teresa Thomas’ math, science and social studies class and about 50 fourth-graders in Anna McCarley’s two language arts classes.
The third-graders wrote Haiku pieces about Native Americans and early settlers. The fourth-graders wrote limericks.
The event was planned to coincide with the beginning of National Poetry Month.
“We wanted to have an event outside of school to involve the community,” McCarley said.
Each grade published a book with their poems. Also the two grades worked together, with fourth-grade students teaching third-graders about limericks, and vice versa.
“The children were so excited,” Thomas said. “It made them feel important, and it helped raise self-esteem.”
Fourth-grader Elizabeth Harrelson, 9, wrote her limerick about the famous horse, Mr. Ed, of course.
“It was hard because you had to match syllables and rhymes,” she said.
Third-grader Briley Lesely, 8, said the best part was that she “learned stuff.”
“And I like learning,” she said, noting her poem was about the changes Pilgrims faced when they arrived in America.
For fourth-grader Zack McDivitt, 10, the hardest part of the exercise was reading at the microphone.
“It really encourages you and makes you feel good because you can see people respect you and love you,” he said.