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Two years ago, around this time of year, I was listening to NPR’s poet-in-residence Kwame Alexander talk about how kids are great teachers of love, and he shared a wonderful activity to have students do on Valentine’s Day. He asked teachers to have their students write several lines beginning with “Love is.” He then asked teachers to submit their students’ work (I was one of the teachers who submitted) and he selected lines from more than 2,000 entries to create a beautiful collaborative poem which you can read here: https://www.npr.org/2019/02/14/694635029/love-is-_____-more-than-2-000-entries-filled-in-the-blank
I am a huge fan of list poems, which is exactly what this activity is: a list of creative definitions of what love means to each person. I find it important to teach the list poem, because too often people have this idea that poetry is a complex puzzle, so I tell my students that poems can be as simple as making a creative list. I’ve had students select other topics to explore in this format as well, and they crafted poems such as “Kindness Is, Sadness is, and Poetry Is.” I call them the “Is” poems, and they’re always full of interesting metaphors and surprising lines.
Every Wednesday I have the opportunity to teach creative writing classes to PCSB’s 21 Century iclasses, which consist of six elementary schools split into two hour-long virtual sessions, and today I had my students complete the “Love Is” activity.
The results brought me so much joy and filled me with buckets of hope. These kids are such wise leaders of love. As they shared their poems, I wrote down a line (sometimes two) from each student to create these wonderful poems. My iclass students constantly blow me away. Read on to hear the voices of our future leaders:
By iclass students at Ponce de Leon Elementary and High Point Elementary
Love is loving my “me.”
Love is sunny days.
Love is what makes us human.
Love is hot dogs to eat with ketchup.
Love is coming to you.
Love is school.
Love is the center of your heart.
Love is my mom.
Love is right.
Love is learning.
Love is truth.
Love is my moon.
Love is life.
Love is caring for myself.
Love is for all.
Love is family.
Love is hard.
Love is beautiful.
Love is sharing things, and love.
Love is amazing.
By iclass students at Midtown Academy, Melrose Elementary, Campbell Park Elementary and Fairmount Elementary
Love is smiling.
Love is a bond that two people share.
Love is hope—I hope my kids will love their skin color, whatever it is.
Love is taking care of my baby sister.
Love is the world that flows through the moon.
Love is the wave of the ocean.
Love is blue.
Love is coming home.
Love is Black Lives Matter.
Love is what made you.
Love is our family. Love is animals.
Love is giving someone the power to build you up.
Love is family. Love is my home.
Love is all colors.
Love is Krispy Kreme.
Love is warm and fuzzy.
Love is when two people touch each other’s soul.
Love is my mom. She is my heart.
Love is justice.
Love is my grandma.
Love is infinite.
Love is reaching our dreams, together.
Love is my lovely pit bull.
Love is me. Love is everything.
Love is red. Love is pink.
Love is ice cream in the sun.
Love is a jungle.
Love is to keep your masks on.
Love is you. Love is chocolate.
Love is the core of the earth that keeps us warm.
Love is us. Love is what you want it to be.
Love is the color of my heart.
Love is real. Love is perfect.
Love is obedience.
Love is when two people know each other’s secrets,
their deepest, darkest, most dreadful secrets.
Love is a soul.
Love is love.
Thank you for reading! I hope those poems gave you a huge hug like they did for me.