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Voices provides an opportunity for students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 to practise public speaking skills by presenting to small audiences, collaboration skills by working in small groups, and writing skills by preparing their own presentations.

Voices offers a range of opportunities for students to discover the power of their own voices while exploring the experiences and perspectives of others as expressed through spoken word and poetry. They work collaboratively—listening to others’ perspectives and presenting their own points of view to create shared understanding and present pieces in a meaningful way—and they respond individually—giving each other positive feedback and reflecting on their own progress.

Beginning in Gr. 6, students collaborate in small groups or work individually to understand, interpret, and perform the creative works of others in a meaningful way. In their groups, they listen to others’ perspectives and present their own points of view as they work to create shared understanding.

Students encourage each other and challenge themselves to find their own voices and to use them effectively through experimenting in a small, safe environment. Students have daily opportunities to present to the audience of their choosing. As they practice their presentation skills, students dare to take risks, offer support and celebrate each other’s successes.

In Grade 7 the students have increased opportunity to shape their own presentations and by Grade 8 they are writing a piece a week and presenting to their peers.

In every grade, students are offered choices; the program is flexible and can adapt to any comfort level. Each student what to present, how they will present it, and who will be in the audience.

 

 

Sometimes in Voices class I share a poem with students and invite them to write their own, inspired by the original. Below are some examples of the poems I shared and the responses from students.

 

This is Just to Say

By William Carlos Williams

I have eaten

the plums

that were in the icebox

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

 

 

This is just to say….

I stole the cookies

from the cookie jar.

I’m sorry I should have

Asked if I could have some

Cookies first.

The cookies were

Scrumptious.

Next time I will ask

First.

 

This is Just to Say

I stole

A spoonful

Of sugar

From the bowl

And you probably

Didn’t want me

To be unhealthy

It was tasty

But my tea

No longer

Tasted sweet

 

Just Saying

I always pick

the raisins out of

the cinnamon buns

And then

I feed them

to the dog

Because

She likes them

And I don’t

 

This is Just to Say

I have made

Cookies

In the oven

And they

Are for today.

Yours

To eat

Enjoy

The treat

You eat

Have a nice day

 

This is Just to Say

I have dyed

my fat dog

Green

She will probably

blend in

with the backyard

Forgive me

I thought she

Would look so much better

in green.

 

BY FRANCISCO X. ALARCÓN

some say

I’m now almost

extinct in this park

but the people

who say this

don’t know

that by smelling

the orchids

in the trees

they’re sensing

the fragrance

of my chops

that by hearing

the rumbling

of the waterfalls

they’re listening

to my ancestors’

great roar

that by observing

the constellations

of the night sky

they’re gazing

at the star spots

on my fur

that I am and

always will be

the wild

untamed

living spirit

of this jungle

 

Dippy (our cat)

As you sleep

In the night

I play

I sneak

I observe

I strike

I search

The upstairs and downstairs

For my prey

See with my eyes

Smell with my nose

And listen with my ears

I spot my prey

In the shadows I hide

With padded feet I sneak

I wait

I prepare

 

Cali

some say

I’m almost

always hungry

but the people

who say this,

don’t know

that by smelling

the dog food

in the pantry

they’re sensing

the hunger

in my eyes

that by hearing

the glorious sound

of my mighty snore

they’re listening

to me sleep

throughout the day 

that by observing

my shaking,

and whining

they’re gazing

at me trying

to get outside

that I am and

always will be

the beefy

untamed

hungry spirit

of the house.

 

From an Animal’s Point of View…

I am a jellyfish

I shine like a star

In the big, wide, dark ocean

Floating through the water like an astronaut

They call me a bell

But I don’t ring,

I glow

And I bob, like a bouncy ringlet

Of submerged hair

I am a Medusa, 

The monster of the sea

But I am tiny

Until my friends arrive

We are a bloom,

A cacophony of iridescent bells

Beautiful and dangerous

We look small

But we have a venomous sting

We break apart like a crumbling wall

And take to the breeze of the current

We float past shipwrecks and planes

Coral reefs and Seaweed forests

We see all the wonders of the ocean

Trapped beneath the dark and shiny waves

But we are not prisoners

We are free.

 

From an Animal’s Point of View…

Soaring through the night skies

All night looking for dinner…

Whoo whoo

With my bright yellow eyes 

I see from a distance…

Dinner 

A tiny rodent called a mouse

Will suit me and my family 

Just fine 

Whoo whoo

My family and I are fed with tasty 

Delights 

All cozy in our nest 

Snuggled close…

Whoo whoo

 Sleeping tight 

Under the star light 

Tonight 

Whooo whoo

I am an owl

 

And, finally I posted this example and asked students what colour they thought best represented them:

Just Like Me

By Lawan Mitchell

Black describes me.

My mood, my personality.

Black is the colour that everyone likes.

Black is subtle,

Not too flashy, not too boring.

Black is power, authority.

Black moves like air.

Close your eyes, it’s everywhere.

Black is nonchalant.

Black’s carefree.

Nothing fazes this colour.

Black’s hard as steel.

Black is my best friend.

Because we’re just alike.

Plain, basic, understated,

Unlike red or orange or yellow.

We don’t brighten up a room.

We bring coolness

That can’t be produced by another.

Stone-faced is our expression.

Relaxed is our mood,

Our state of mind.

We stand alone,

But we can mix

With all people, all colours.

Just Like Me

 

Blue orange and green

describe me.

Blue for the ocean.

Orange for my hair

and my personality.

Green for how much

I like to explore

and go into the forest.

 

Just Like Me

I’m like a rainbow

never one color always changing 

Yellow and flashy

filling the room with light

Blue and bored, tired as ever

Purple and annoyed

from some irritating people 

So yes, that’s me

 

Just Like Me

Orange describes me

My personality, who I am

Orange is a color we all like

It is vibrant and bright

It is not too exciting, not too dangerous

Orange is fierce, and powerful

It is happy, it is colorful

Orange is different than the others

It is both sour and sweet

It makes you feel creative

Orange is just like me

We are both colorful

We are both creative

We are sweet, and sour

Orange is the only thing that I can relate to

Unlike darker colors

We make things brighter wherever we go

No other does it this way

Joyful is our expression

Cheerful is our mood

Bringing joy to everyone

That’s what we do

We are orange