Hybrid Schooling and Poetry: A great Combination!
When people discover that I teach high school classes one day a week, I get the question, “Where do you teach that allows you to do that?”
“I teach at a hybrid school in Atlanta, Georgia,” I’ll tell them.
Usually, at this point, they nod their heads, as if they were quite familiar with such a place. But, most of the time they have no idea what a hybrid school is. So, I am going to explain it here and show you a little of what we do in my classes.
A hybrid school is a school that combines the best of both the homeschooling and traditional school models. Hybrid schools meet less frequently then traditional schools, once or twice a week being the most common. Hybrid schools bring home schooled students together for face-to-face classroom time. On school days, teachers give lessons, hold class discussions, give tests, hold conferences and all the basic activities that a regular school does. On off days, students work on assignments, go on field trips or participate in extra curricular activities. The great benefit of the hybrid arrangement is that students and families have a lot of flexibility to travel, pursue advanced level sports or music instruction and study subjects of particular interest. At my school, for example, students can study core subjects like history and math or they can take high interest electives like film, debate, sculpting or creative writing. They can take one or multiple classes a week. I have one student that is a competitive diver and another that is a flutist. I love teaching in the hybrid environment because it gives me the opportunity to design a curriculum around my students’ specific abilities and needs.
Poetry is the topic of the month in my Wednesday Creative Writing class. This is a workshop class that has three main elements: a mini lesson, workshop writing time and sharing. Today, we looked at the recurring image in poetry, specifically in “The Portrait” by Stanley Kunitz and “Oh, Oh” by William Hathaway. Before reading these startling poems, I had the students close their eyes and imagine an event or situation that has “stuck” for some reason in their memories. The memory could be positive or negative. Once they recalled the event or situation, I asked them to identify the image that came to mind in a few words. Some questions I asked, ” How does this image make you feel?” and “What was the ultimate outcome of that event or situation?” These questions got them pondering and writing.
Once we read and discussed the poems, they were eager to get to work on their own recurring images. Some wrote in notebooks; others worked on laptops. But all said they just appreciated having time to write.