Teach the Babies

Last week Renée Watson visited Atlanta to appear and sign at the Decatur Book Festival. While she was here we teamed up to conduct a two day writing and art workshop with students at Frederick Douglass High School (my alma mater). The students wrote poems modeled after Renée’s poem, “Where I’m From”, using an “Anaphora” – a rhetorical term for the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses. I worked with students on making images to support their art. Here are a few samples from the two days:

I was so encouraged to see how seriously the students took the assignment and how personal the poems were. The next time we conduct the workshop, I think we will work in groups on the images or make the pictures much smaller. The students only had about half an hour to draw each day which is hardly any time at all to make finished illustrations. Overall though, I think they really understood the connection between words and pictures and really using images to support and enhance the meaning behind the text rather than just redraw what’s already been written.

Renée and I had a great time sharing our work with the students. We also snuck in a book signing during her visit to Atlanta. Special thanks goes out to the Shrine of the Black Madonna Bookstore for letting us use the facilities.