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Celebrating National Poetry Month at Spring Break Camp

by Francile Albright

Invitation by Shel Silverstein

If you are a dreamer, come in,

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…

If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in!

Come in!

Our Spring Break camp for grades K-5 began with a reading of one of Shel Silverstein’s classic short poems, and I can’t think of a better expression of how we envision our camps and classes at The Picture House. We are here to help young people tell their stories. And what better way to recognize April as National Poetry Month, than to use poems as the inspiration for short films made by our students during camp!

You would be amazed to see how simple, short poems inspired films about epic adventures into new worlds, and inspired characters like misfit robots and spoiled, evil candy-eaters like Dr. Destroyer. In addition to all of the creative brainstorming, students learned the basics of filmmaking — using cameras, lights, and sound to bring their visions to life.

While creating, filming, and acting out their stories, students also learned about working together and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Using the arts as a means for students to follow their own ideas and express themselves without a fear of being wrong can be a powerful way to build confidence, resilience, and character.

I’m so proud of the work our students did over Spring Break. The creativity on display was truly impressive, and I can’t wait to share their film on the big screen during our Student Showcase in the fall. In the meantime, some advice for young and old alike:

Put Something In by Shel Silverstein

Draw a crazy picture,

Write a nutty poem,

Sing a mumble-grumble song,

Whistle through your comb.

Do a loony-goony dance

‘Cross the kitchen floor,

Put something silly in the world

That ain’t been there before.