This past Thursday a group of teachers took their third field trip organized by The Inspired Classroom. We attended Beat Night at the Press Room in Portsmouth, NH. What fun! It was a great night of relaxin’, groovin’ and inspirin’.

Four of the teachers out at the Press Room for Beat Night.

The evening began with an hour of featured poets reciting their original poems. There they stood, poets of all ages and backgrounds sharing their experiences with us – unhinged, unrated, truthful and full of life. They spoke of love and pain, emotion and faith. And all this was recited to the backdrop of live, improvisational music. The poets asked for a certain feel and the musicians started to play, laying out the landscape on which the lyrics of the poems rested.

The second hour was open mic and those who felt it, signed up to recite a poem with or without the band. I, knowing I would regret it if I didn’t, decided to put my name down before I lost my nerve. Ayanna Gallant, the hostess of the night (and guest blogger on TIC) introduced the readers one by one and they got up to read.

One poet was a former student of mine who gave an emotional poem about a tragic childhood experience. And in the end of the poem we heard her be at peace. It was beautiful and poetic, it sucked me in to her experience and emotional past. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought how poetry must have been a healing agent for her and how fortunate for me to have been able to witness this beautiful young lady share this part of her with all of us.

A couple of poets later, it was my turn. Once introduced, I got up to the mic, asking the band leader, Larry Simon to play something rhythmic and sultry with lots of drums. He instructed the rest of the band and the music started to play…

It was like magic how my words melted together with the music. We complimented each other with each nuance of melody and lyric. The words poured out my mouth like satin and I was entranced in the moment created by the sounds all around me.

It was a great experience and I’m glad it was captured on video, or at least you can hear the audio.
Later, as I listened to the performance and remembered the experience, it got me thinking.

Why don’t we do things like this more often? Be creative, share our experiences and build community through these art forms in true, raw, and meaningful ways? For me, reading my poem was pure enjoyment, a thrill, but for others it can be a way to get a message out, to tell a story or act as therapy for their soul.

Why don’t we ask students to do this more – write from their experiences, from the gut!?

Another teacher near us had some of his high school students there. Two were being featured that night. HE allows for this in his classroom. He inspires his students to write gutsy poetry that means something real for them in their lives.

We need to do more of this for our children and for ourselves. I am thankful for these field trips. They have helped me to stay inspired in my own teaching so that I can inspire my students!

Next month is jazz and poetry month. What a great excuse to use to try out some poetry writing with my students.

For more pics from Beat Night, visit our Flicker Account.

Musical Experiences - Listening in the Classroom
Balancing Testing with Creativity

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