As I watched the inauguration last week, I knew Amanda Gorman’s poem would become a critical text in my kindergarten classroom. Seeing her, a young woman who looks like many of my students, a writer, a speaker, an overcomer, a seeker of justice, made me want my students to know her name and who she is. I want them to know they can be her, and that it starts now.
So we have been listening to and watching her perform her poem. We have been talking about the words and what they mean. We have been making connections to our books and our actions.
My 5 year olds are making strong connections to and inferences from this poem. Here are some of the things they were thinking about after listening to the poem a time or two:
After talking about it on the third day, my students asked to draw how they were feeling while they listened to Amanda (as they’ve come to call her) share her poem again.
These children blow me away daily. They are 5 and yet understand that change needs to happen. They are ready to be that change. They know that it might mean they will need to fight for the right things, the good things. They know we are to be kind and respectful even if we disagree. They know that we can do hard things and that it’s okay to make mistakes. They know they are loved and deserve to be treated equally.
They may be little, but they are ready to do the big things.