poetry and sidewalk art

Today we finished our unit on Death and Life, looking at how an awareness of our own death can influence how we live our lives. We looked at Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich and a collection of carpe diem poems. Students wrote scaffolded essays about a good death or a good life based on Ilyich and their own experiences, and they made calendar pages for the poems they found interesting.

To finish, I got some sidewalk chalk and we went to the back yard of the school to write out lines from the poems to inspire those who walked by. I've done this for many years and it's always a favorite.

I love having them work with the words and show their enthusiasm for them, and I love that the medium is so transient, fitting the theme of the poetry so well. As we worked, students, parents, staff members, and folks from the neighborhood stopped by to ask questions and read. And yes, they were inspired.

Carpe diem, baby.