Cummings School third grade students learned that poetry can be fun, dramatic, educational, and help build teamwork and self-confidence during a program called Poetry in Motion Class.
Trudy Macero, owner of the Winthrop School for Performing Arts, led 150 third graders through the eight-week program that culminated with performances in front of seven audiences of parents this week in the school cafetorium.
“We did this program to have the children see what poetry is like when they’re acting it out,” said Macero. “Often poetry can be a little boring to them or they take it too literally. In doing poetry in motion, acting out the poems – these kids suddenly get a new feeling for what poetry is about and seem to enjoy it much more.”
Macero said a valuable component was the public-speaking aspect of the program.
“The kids are getting up on stage in front of people and having to speak,” said Macero. “Some kids are real natural at it and they do it great and it’s easy for them. Other kids not so much – it’s really difficult for them and they’re really nervous. I’m especially proud of them.”
Macero spent 30 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays with seven separate classes of third graders.
“The kids were great,” said Macero. “They responded well and the teachers told me that they loved coming to the Poetry in Motion Class. To give them an appreciation of poetry in that way is very rewarding.”
Third grade teacher Mary Elizabeth Clancy said the anticipation to this week’s performance had been growing steadily.
“This was so exciting for our students who were looking forward to this program for awhile,” said Clancy. “It’s been really great for me because I’ve been able to see their different abilities. It’s very expressive and theatrical so some of my kids who have been very quiet have been able to shine.
“It’s really working great with their reading. They’re been reading with a lot of expression and getting used to talking in front of groups.”
Bobbie Finocchio, principal of the Cummings School, said the teachers and students were thankful to Macero for volunteering her time for the program.
“We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Trudy,” said Finocchio. “She’s very organized. The kids loved and looked forward to meeting with her each week. It’s taught them not only to memorize a poem but it goes so much deeper than that – to understand figurative language and build confidence. Students who were apprehensive to speak in front of their class are now not only speaking in front of their class but in front of their parents and families as well.”
Macero donated prizes of free acting lessons to her school at the end of the program.