The middle school Summer Institute’s Poets and Playwrights class offered students in grades 6-8 fun and engaging ways to learn about the many aspects of creating poetry and plays. Poetry was the focus of the first week of class, as students studied the work of Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and other famous poets. Students learned about different literary devices through fun exercises such as “puzzle poems,” where students read a poem and use what they’ve learned to determine what the poem is describing.
During week two, students learned the elements of playwriting by examining aspects of drama, reading and performing scenes and working together to write a scene. Samples from plays such as “Our Town” and “The Glass Menagerie” were used as examples of structure, and students then wrote scenes and acts for longer plays that they had the option of continuing to write once the class was over.