Poetry, Inclusivity, and Creativity in Classrooms

Last month, I spoke at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Dr. Linda Pavonetti had invited me to visit her class, “The Author’s & Illustrator’s Art & Craft.” I was intrigued by the concept for the class. The masters students in education study the work of the visiting authors, illustrators, editors, etc. prior to the lecturer’s arrival. On the day I visited, I used my book ZING! as the basis for my PowerPoint focusing first on my books of poetry and why it’s my favorite genre as a writer. Sadly, many teachers feel hesitant to teach poetry though it’s a fine way to foster delight in language and to strengthen our writing at any age. I also stressed the importance of being inclusive of all the various parts of ourselves and of enjoying diversity in literature, colleagues and students. A key theme of my remarks was the seven practices I propose in ZING! to help nurture creativity in ourselves, our colleagues, and our pupils.

Symbols for the seven creative practices of ZING!

My flight experiences on this trip were the worst of my life (the challenge of flying these days), BUT I so enjoyed part two of the class when, after meeting in groups, the students asked me many thought-provoking questions. As educators at all levels prepare for a new academic year, I wish them excitement as they prepare to foster creativity in themselves and their students. Life’s details, technology, etc. can snare us. I find it takes daily effort to value our unique inventiveness.


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