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Wild Words in ACES Ed

Posted in Kids' Corner

“Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.” 
Shel Silverstein

Students at Basalt Elementary have had the opportunity to practice and enjoy creative storytelling in the ACES Ed after school enrichment program called Wild Words.  Each Wednesday, the 75-minute program begins like this: students arrive in varying degrees of exhaustion and jubilance and quickly find a balance of energy and calm as they select one of the many books of art and poetry from the milk crate in the center of the room. They enjoy quick a snack and, after a few moments of informal greetings, the room becomes a place of imagination and dreams as they dig into and often share works by beloved poets Mary Oliver, Shel Silverstein, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, and many more. 

When asked what she likes most about the class, 3rd grade student Kaitland says, “I like hearing the other students read aloud. It is interesting to hear the poem they chose because each person selects something different.” During the course of the class, Kaitland has been inspired to write a story about a 12-year old girl who visits a mountain everyday and about the challenges she faces while exploring. 

Most students enjoy reading and writing, but all of the students love the opportunity to go outside! Our outdoor adventures typically feature activities that foster wonder and awareness of the surrounding community. While outdoors, students are encouraged to use observation skills and learn to use their senses like wild animals. When they head back to the classroom, students are encouraged to take part in a creative activity that goes beyond the sometimes strict boundaries of art, or even traditional classroom learning. There are few expectations on the outcome or product; instead the exercise is presented as intentional process for fun, spontaneity, and joy, for students to freely create. For example, students might take turns creating and telling a story together, or alternate drawing and writing each other’s stories. These creative outlets often become a unique process of literary teamwork. 

As the end of the Wild Words class draws close, students  are putting together a journal using the handmade paper we made on the first day. In their journals they will include a collection of work done in the class, such as nature drawings and Haikus. Our hope is that they will end the class inspired by the natural world, with the desire to create, and plenty of blank journal pages to do so!

~ Brandon Jones, ACES Educator