Using Poetry as a Tool for Teaching Social Emotional Development
When a tomato gets chopped, it is depressed.
When carrots get diced, they are depressed.
When they get mixed, they are depressed.
In awe, I read each line of my student’s words and appreciated the depth of her talent and creativity. After reading this poem, I thought WOW, this young lady is very reflective. She was able to write about the intensity of feeling depressed in just a few lines. The young author also made a connection of understanding when depressed people gather, each person’s mood infects the other person’s mood. The poem touched upon a core problem involving depression, as it relates to the adage “misery loves company.” The aspect of a young child being able to communicate and make such deep connections between grief and hurt is exceptional.
This is one of the many poems written by our students who produced original works for “Real Talk” (SEL). Real Talk is one of the monthly initiatives aimed at helping students to engage and learn about different concepts relating to social-emotional development.
We have created a book with all our student’s poems, which I thoroughly enjoyed. After reading several of the student’s poems, I recognized how important it is to have children talk, write, and express their emotions. Afterschool and summer learning programs have proven to be a place for students to cultivate their social and emotional skills and competencies. If your programs haven’t started actively engaging students with SEL activities, it is a missed opportunity. After school is a safe space where students can explore concepts like emotions, and student ability to understand their feelings builds self-awareness and social awareness.
Tiana Brown is the Assistant Director of the Norwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers