Naomi Shihab Nye visits 6th grade english classes


Naomi Shihab Nye reads poetry during the workshops done for 6th grade english classes.

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye visited Ann Richards and helped 6th graders do workshops on Thursday, February 12 and Friday, February 13. 6th graders have been studying poetry since the beginning of the new semester, and will soon complete a poetry portfolio.

Nye said she has been doing workshops at Ann Richards for many years. “I’ve come every time they’ve invited me, because I love your school. I think it’s one of the great schools,” said Nye.

6th graders have been working on their poetry unit for the past 6 weeks, “Since the beginning of the semester,” said Hannah McIntyre. As part of their unit, the 6th graders read Naomi Shihab Nye’s A Maze Me. They began the workshop by asking Nye questions, including where the inspiration for some of her poems came from, and where certain details from her poem came from.

“I really like her poem in the Cafeteria” said Alexandria San Miguel, a 6th Grader in Nye’s workshop. “It sort of reminds me of myself, because she’s, like, looking around in the cafeteria, and I think a lot of people do that when they’re looking for someone.”

After the question and answer session, the students wrote down the answers to the following writing prompts in their notebooks: What is something you are waiting for?; What is beautiful to you?; What would you like to remember from yesterday?; What is a journey you would like to go on?

“[My favorite thing to write down was] what we think is beautiful,” said San Miguel. “[I wrote] nature, love, books, comfort, compassion, and challenge.”

The 6th graders then took a break from writing and Nye read aloud several poems, from both kids and adults. After the poetry, the 6th graders went back to writing, and, to close the workshop, read their work out loud. “[My favorite part about today was] Sharing our poems,” said Lizabeth Frausto.

The 6th graders said they enjoy working with Nye every time she comes. “I think 6th graders are very sophisticated,” said Nye. “I think the 6th graders here are extremely intelligent, and very articulate… Coming to this school turns my compass back to the best reminder of what education is supposed to be.”

Nye has written multiple full-length poetry collections, including Different Ways to PrayHugging the JukeboxYellow GloveRed Suitcase: PoemsFuel: poems19 varieties of gazelle: poems of the Middle EastYou & yours: poemsA Maze Me: Poems for GirlsHoneybee: poems & short proseTender Spot: Selected Poems.