A Month at NYMA: April

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As many of you know, April is not only the month of new blooms, unbearable allergies, and my birthday, but it is most definitely the month of poetry. Kids are coming in with poetry assignments and I–the poet–finally gets a chance to sit with them whenever a poetry question (OR CRISIS!) arises.

One student sat miserably, shouting that poetry is too hard. This is the same student who stopped reading Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax because, “I don’t like listening to music.” The fact that a first grader can let me know there’s music in what she is reading is pretty amazing. Getting her to understand and ENJOY it’s music is another matter. For her particular assignment, I wanted her to just listen to her own words so that she gets in tune with her inner rhythm. To keep things stress free, I asked her to create lines based on what was going on outside our window that day. We had an open conversation about our current feelings on spring. The first few weeks were chilly and consistently raining, and I think she captured our mood, collectively. In under 15 minutes, she created something she was very proud of. I am super happy with how she decided to close the poem, comparing blooming tree branches to veins. The poem is currently hanging up on our wall, accompanied with a picture of earth as a flower, being cupped by a hand.

SPRING SPRING SPRING

By Alisha Fletcher

This spring is cold

Earth is loaded with rain

Soon spring flowers will unfold

With colorful veins

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Later that day, I checked in on Habib and Papa as they worked on their coloring sheets. “How’s your meditation going?” They both, in unison, shouted, “MEDITATION!?” I asked them how they feel as they color. Calm? Focused? The both said yes. I told them this is a form of meditation. Walking in the woods is also a form of meditation. They asked how so. I said, “You have to walk like–” …”Like an adult?” asked Habib. Like you. A quiet you.

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I fell in love with an assignment Falaye had to do for school. It was on the subject of community and collaboration (which NYMA is all about!). In his drawing of a large, clean body of water, he wrote, “You must do your part.” He collaborated on the drawing with his tutor, Daniel.

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I’d like to think this month is ending on a spectacular note for our students. Many of them have been showing off awards they’ve received! Congratulations to them all. Happy Spring, everyone!

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