April is Poetry Month – A Chance to Add Art to STEM, That Science, Tech, Engineering and Math Stuff
By Guest Blogger Riley, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot, Assisted by Martha Sessums
I don’t usually hold still. I’m a dog. It’s hard to sometimes. But I’ve been bouncing around a lot because April’s my favorite – National Poetry Month.
Hi, Riley here, the mascot for the ACE Poetry Contest. This is the fourth year I’ve been doing this for ACE, and this year’s gonna be a good one. Not only are the Alpha Public Schools (that’s where I hang out!), in the contest, but the ACE Learning Center at Cindy Avitia High School is joining the fun too. That’s where our student’s parents hang out and learn to be better at that pesky English language.
Of course we have the usual star poets joining us from Oakland International High School (OIHS)and San Francisco International High School (SFIHS.) Also cool is that Cronos will be on
board as mascot in San Francisco. Big tail swish to you, dude! He tells me that there will be special poetry workshops led by local poets at SFIHS throughout the month. Who’s howling now?
And, we’ve got another school joining us this year – Yew Chung International School of Silicon Valley. YCIS has been an ACE Partner School for lots of years, and I barked out loud when I heard this. Each school can pick their own ACE Poetry Contest mascot, so I wonder if YCIS will pick a monkey. This is the Year of the Monkey, you know. The Year of the Dog’s not back up until 2018. Now that’s going to be a special year! Arf!
Know what else I’m barking for joy at? STEAM. No, not referring to what comes out of John Glover’s coffee cup in the morning. It’s the addition of Art in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum and education focus. Tech is a great thing, but there’s an art to it. It takes innovation. A grand way at looking at a problem and finding a new solution. You know, 1 + 2 = 2, but there are many creative ways to get to two.
So here’s the deal with the contest: Poetry topic is, as always, “Learning with Technology.” Why? Because ACE is about using technology in our classrooms. They have this stuff called spectrum, and they use it to deliver Internet to ACE Learning Centers. These centers help support smart kids who need a little extra help, and the teachers who give that help. Pretty cool.
Cooler is that the ACE Poetry Contest winners get prizes. Like real cashola to spend on stuff. Here’s the deal – First place winners receive $75 bucks. Second place gets $50 bucks, and third place takes home $25.
The style of poetry is open to anything. From rap (a type of free verse, dude) to haiku, from free motion to sonnet. It all works. Each school will set up their own rules and judging process. Winners will be announced by the end of the month.
Say, is free motion doggerel when I jump up and down for a treat?
I forgot to mention, I love treats. I’ll probably mention that a lot. In terza rima or doggerel form.
A real treat is April 21, Poem in Your Pocket Day. I still think it should be Treat in Your Pocket Day, so you can give me a treat.
Have fun, and good luck to everyone. Remember to treat yourself to a poem.