CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – First-graders from Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary who spent six weeks writing poetry shared the product of their word-smithing with an audience of parents and perfect strangers at the Black Cow Café in Croton.
“In our writing program we were encouraged to have the kids feel like they went public with their work and a reader reading their work. So I thought taking them to the Black Cow would be a great time to have their work shine and give them a unique experience, like a poetry slam,” said first-grade teacher Patricia Lynch.
Lynch said a public performance felt natural, attributing her comfort in the spotlight to her background in theater. This is the 10th year Lynch has brought her students to the café. She also emcees the poetry reading.
The 21 pint-sized poets wrote between six and 60 poems, some exiting the program with portfolios 2 inches thick.
“Conductors can work/ All Day/ When picking up people/ And saying please/ Check each and every ticket/ Punch two holes and/ … there you go,” wrote student Iulia Andrews.
Students also wrote “author pages,” which were read aloud before they read two or three of their poems. Tidbits of biographical information included a favorite pet’s name, favorite foods or weekly activities. One student wrote: “He is naughty sometimes, he once rode on a thing with no brakes and almost crashed but he didn’t, he likes school and he likes New Jersey.”
“I always start the poetry reading at the Black Cow and I say this is a very special Croton moment and people always giggle at that because they know what I mean. We value arts, we value writing, we value poetry and it’s because we value this kind of performance for our kids,” said Lynch.