My Favorite Word is Love is an anthology of poetry by the second-grade students of Sheridan Academy of Young Leaders 457X. The title comes from a poem by Gregory Rodriguez where he envisioned spring having a favorite word—love.
For twenty days, students learned about hyperboles, personification, metaphors, alliteration, similes, line breaks, syllables, and haikus. The students examined the poetry of Sandra Cisneros, Willie Perdomo, Pablo Neruda, Kwame Dawes, Nina Simone, Langston Hughes, and several others. Each famous poet studied served as an inspiration for students to write their own poems. The young poets of Sheridan Academy discussed poetry with a sophistication beyond their years. Poetry spoke to the students—this was obvious in their raised hands and their eagerness to share their thoughts with the group.
In this anthology, you will find Summer wearing a black and white suit, 100,000 grains of rice, and lightning born in February fun. You’ll find poems inspired by Langston Hughes that use the rain to bless people, animals, and countries in need. Nina Simone’s blues song motivated students to sing their own blues about things they don’t have and then to celebrate all the things they do have that can never be taken away. Kwame Dawes swept the students into metaphors of being tornado, waterfall, and river children. Students clapped their hands to sound out syllables and wrote haikus about dinosaurs, goldfish, and other animals. Hyperboles inspired by Pablo Neruda had some poets traveling to Puerto Rico just to get a taste of platano maduro! All of the poems in this anthology are delicious, suspenseful, evocative, and give poetry its unique form.
This anthology would not have been possible without the relentless commitment of all the teachers. Thank you Ms. Chiarello, Ms. Prokesch, Ms. Weiner, Ms. Tumminello, and Mr. Nuñez, for helping me bring out the poets in these young leaders. This collection is a testament to what is possible when there is inspired collaboration amongst dedicated teachers.
I thank Rose Tempel for always entering the classrooms with a heartwarming smile and staying to hear the students read their poems. Thank you for your support.
I thank Samantha LoCoco, T&W’s Education Associate, for bringing so much passion to this residency. I congratulate her on her ability to carefully listen to individual student needs and then coming up with creative alternatives that work. Sam envisioned the beautiful bulletin board that won us the pizza party contest! Sam, you are a great teacher and I thank you for all that you have taught me.
I thank Mr. Gonzalez for his presence and support. Sheridan Academy has precious young leaders because of great leaders like you. Finally, I thank Ms. Febus for inviting me into Sheridan Academy of Young Leaders.
What really touched me most was seeing how much the students cared about each other. They offered each other constructive feedback, helped each other read if someone needed help, and they cheered wholeheartedly when they heard a great poem. I am so proud of them. I thank all of the Sheridan Young Poets for letting me be their poetry guide. I thank them too for sharing their powerful and beautiful stories with me.
~ Alba Delia Hernandez, Teaching Artist