Poetic Power

A Creative Communication blog

Featured Teacher: Carla Chennault

Carla C writing workshop with Heidi Goldberg Sloan

Writing workshop with Heidi Goldberg Sloan

I have taught 8th grade English for the past 15 years and currently work for Detroit Country Day Middle School in Beverly Hills, MI where I challenge young adults to grow as readers, writers, and thinkers even as they navigate the social pressures of middle school. Throughout the years, I have had the pleasure of working with especially capable students, and I regularly encourage them to submit writing to a variety of contests, including Creative Communication, in hopes that they will be recognized beyond the classroom for their talents.

My experience of regularly blogging for two years taught me the power of metaphor and simile to effectively communicate a message. Whenever I used a metaphor or simile in my blog posts, I’d notice an uptick in the “likes” and “comments” received from my readers. I share this first-hand lesson with my students and remind them to use metaphor and simile to help their readers connect more closely with their ideas. Last year, one of my 8th graders won a national writing contest for a Metaphor Poem that he wrote about his autistic brother.

Additionally, I encourage students to view their writing assignments as an opportunity to create a new “thing” that doesn’t already exist in the world. Tapping into the recent buzz around the Design Thinking Process, I suggest to students that writing is a form of engineering, and, as such, should have purpose, empathy for its intended audience, a prototype for feedback and adjustment, impactful structure, etc. In this way, I invite students, especially those who favor math and science, to view their English language class through a fresh lens. Furthermore, in an effort to show students that writing matters and is valued at our school, I initiated a program called Writers’ Lounge, a series of writing workshops facilitated by professional writers, either in person or via Skype, who expose students to different genres of writing, like advertising copy writing, and who serve as role models for students hoping to pursue writing as a career.

I believe that “good” writing engages the reader right away and keeps the reader in its grasp. It communicates clearly such that the reader can empathize with the writer’s point of view, whether he/she agrees with it or not, and it connects the writer and reader through a shared vision and/or a compelling argument. Frequently, I tell students that “good” writing transcends time, place, and discipline; essentially, it never goes out-of-style. Yes, communication devices will continue to evolve, but at the end of the day, successful television shows, movies, songs, and even video games stand on the shoulders of quality writing.

Lastly, here’s the truth: “good” writing takes time. Students need time to draft, time to solicit reader reaction, time to revise (again and again), and time to edit carefully. Before submitting to a writing contest, I expect students to invest the time necessary to produce work that makes them proud.

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Featured Student Writer: Flora Huang

Flora Huang is a Top Ten Winner for our spring 2017 national essay contest for her essay “Snowy Memories.”

My name is Flora Huang, a normal eleven-year-old who will be entering 6th grade next autumn. I was first introduced to Poetic Power last spring when my tutor suggested that I enter a writing contest such as this one. At first, I was too embarrassed and turned down the idea, but after somEssay Flora He further thought I decided to gather up my courage and give it a try. Finding a good topic was difficult, and I frequently found my essay extremely limited due to the fact that it must be under 300 words. However, in the end, I was able to complete my work in time with some encouragement from my family and tutor.

I’ve enjoyed writing since I first learned to read, yet I don’t have any specific goals for my future as of now. I will continue to enter writing contests to fine-tune my skills, and see where things take me in terms of my writing.

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Featured Student Writer: Isabella Touseull

POETRY Isabella TMy name is Isabella Marie Touseull and I am 12 years old and I just finished my 6th grade school year at North Pocono Middle School in Moscow Pennsylvania. I entered the Creative Communication contest for the Fall 2016 anthology and was chosen for publication as well but did not make the Top Ten but this time I did!!! I love to write poetry as well as short stories and even songs. I love to draw, paint and work with clay. I play the violin and participate in the school orchestra and I love to sing and I am a member of my school’s chorus. I also love to act and be on stage. I am a member of my school’s drama club and perform in the community for various events. My favorite sport to play is tennis and I take lessons every week and can’t wait to join the tennis team at school. My family consists of my mother, Kathleen Touseull, my father, Joel Touseull and me! My family means the world to me. I also have two German Shepherd dogs, one girl, whose name is Pandora and one boy, whose name is Karma. They are just the best doggies ever! I hope to become a pediatrician when I am older because I love children (babies especially) and I love helping people. I was inspired to write my poem because I think that the world could always use more love and kindness. Each one of us has our own story and we should respect each other and even if we may not understand or agree with someone or something, we always have the power to be kind. That is a choice. That is why I entitled my poem “Just Be Kind“. Even the smallest act of kindness can change someone’s day and it is easy enough to do. My future goals are big! I hope to do well in school and go to college but I also hope to make a mark on this world and be a person who is known for their kindness because after all that is what really matters.

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Featured Student Writer: Emily Daza

My name is Emily Daza and I was selected as one of the Top Ten Winners for the Summer 2016 essay contest.  The essay I submitted to Creative Communication in the seventh to ninth grade category was, “The Bicycle.” Emily Daza

I am fifteen years old and currently in tenth grade.  I attend Laurel Springs School, an accredited private online high school.  In the future, I would like to become either an epidemiologist or a medical librarian.

Some of my hobbies are reading, writing, volunteering at my local library, and constructing Lego Architecture kits.  My favorite author is Ray Bradbury and I absolutely love all of Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poems as well as short stories.

My main inspiration for my essay was the memories I have of my grandfather.  Though he passed away when I was seven years old, I can still remember him teaching me to ride a bike and this in turn became my motivation to write, “The Bicycle.”  He was such an inspiring person and my grandfather always believed in my abilities.

When I received the letter from Creative Communication, I was filled with happiness and shock.  I am very appreciative of writing contests such as these because they are ways in which an individual’s writing can be shared with other people.

 

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Featured Student Writer: Mallorey Wallace

mallorey wallace IMG_1125My name is Mallorey Wallace, and I am in the eleventh grade at Arrowhead Union High School in Hartland, Wisconsin. My essay, Weaving America’s Past, was composed as a part of my Creative Writing class to pay homage to veterans and those currently serving.

Through my personal experience with the armed forces, I have noticed undying love and support from other military families. My wish is for this essay to touch the lives of those who have touched mine in so many ways. In the future, I plan to major in Spanish and International Studies, and have entertained the prospect of joining the Air Force as well. I would like to thank my family, English teachers, and friends for always supporting me in my literary endeavors.

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Featured Student Writer: Moira Armstrong

IMG_7814Moira is a junior at Howland High School, where she enjoys stressing over honors classes and extracurriculars, including Political Action Club, Interact Service Club, Italian Club, marching and concert bands, English Festival, and Howland Unity Gay-Straight Alliance. Her favorite, though, will always be the speech and debate team, where she competes in original oratory and serves as president. She is also an Ambassador Girl Scout and a tap dancer at Jill’s Dance Shop, and in her very limited free time, she likes to play ukulele, color, read, and, of course, write. Her work has been published in the Power of the Pen Book of Winners and Blue Marble Review and is forthcoming in The Asexual Journal, After the Pause, and the Ohio High School Speech League Winning Orations Collection. In the future, she hopes to attend college and pursue a career in museum curation or administration.

Moira wrote “Paris, Orlando, Nice, Dallas, Turkey, Baton Rouge, Munich” after several months of seemingly waking up to a new headline about another terrorist attack or police shooting every day. Because of this, her friends and she are facing ideas like discrimination and worrying about violence at a time when she thought they’d be concerned with things like classes and colleges. As she began exploring the effects it has on their lives and relationships, she realized it’s changed them much more deeply than she originally thought, and she hopes this poem expresses those feelings well and can help teens who feel the same way understand that they’re not alone.

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Featured Student Writer: Branna Sundy

Branna Sundy.jpgBranna Sundy is a 12-year-old attending Diablo View Middle School.  She is an avid reader and dog-lover who enjoys writing poetry and short stories.  She loves giving feedback on her dad’s books, making iMovies with her sisters, baking, playing the flute, performing in theatre shows, playing soccer, and dancing jazz and ballet.  The idea for “Night” came to her before bed one beautiful night as she looked outside her window.  She hopes to be a famous poet and writer someday.

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Featured Student Writer: Amandi Perera

Amandi PereraWhen I saw the envelope saying Spring 2016 Top Ten winner on it, I was humbled and amazed. My grandmother was with me when I saw the letter and, as my poem “You Are My Grandfather” was clearly inspired by my grandfather, she was ecstatic to hear it got selected.

I have always loved reading, Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters being among my favourite authors. In high school, my teachers helped me realize that I love writing as well. I love the power of words and how their arrangement in varying ways can transform into describing an experience or feeling. I also love how each experience can be described in so many ways because of the endless number of perspectives one can have on just one experience. So after my grandfather’s passing, I met many people whose lives he had impacted in some way. Through this and my grandmother’s stories, I realized that my grandfather’s life was one that I could only hope to truly understand. He helped so many people and had the respect of so many, but he had never told me. This poem hopefully encompasses my realization of this and my newfound respect for him.

As for the future, I know that I want to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and help others. I also know that, thanks to the encouragement of my English teachers, I will continue to write in the future and express myself through words.

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Featured Student Writer: Zara Motan

Zara Motan.jpgMy name is Zara Motan. I am the writer of the poem “The Northern Lights”. My poem was chosen in the top ten poems in the spring 2016 poetry contest.

I am 10 years old and love to read and write. My motivational inspiration to write poems was my teacher Ms. Pamela Rodriguez.

My goals for the future include being an author and writing mystery and adventure novels. For now, I look forward to writing more poems and entering them in more poetry contests.

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Featured Student Writer: Cailin Correia

Cailin CorreiaCailin was attending Kalamalka Secondary Schoolin Vernon when her poem, “Composer’s Satisfaction” was selected as a national Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2016 poetry anthology. This means that out of thousands of poems submitted into the contest, hers was selected as one of the ten best in her grade division.

Cailin will be attending McGill University in the fall for a BSc in Agricultural & Environmental Sciences eventually hoping to specialize in Wildlife Biology. In the future she plans on applying her education to the field of conservation in order to protect the planet’s wildlife and biological diversity. Her passion for piano inspired her to create the poem. She started playing the piano when she was seven and will continue to play into her future. She enjoys exploring new places, food, music, art and all things to do with animals.

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