T is for Thank You: 4-B Expresses Gratitude with Acrostic Poetry

“Dang! So good at teaching reading groups!”

“Never doubts kids.”

So begins and ends an acrostic poem written to thank JK-8 Learning Specialist Sheila Rigby Dolan. Students in Mx. Brody Ramirez’s fourth grade class presented this poem and others, a collection of pieces extolling the virtues of Grace’s “specials” teachers, during the Lower School Chapel Service on December 6.
(For those unfamiliar with the vernacular, a “specials” teacher is one whose area of expertise falls outside of subjects taught by homeroom teachers.)

The project, part of a series whereby each homeroom takes turns presenting their work at chapel, drew from skills students began to study when penning their personal narratives, such as incorporating sensory details. It also served as a preview of the poetry unit the class will explore following winter break. 

When asked how students approached the project, Mx. Brody Ramirez noted, “I think that the opportunity to make gifts and show appreciation for their teachers is something that fourth graders especially enjoy doing. They pushed themselves to go beyond writing the kind of acrostic poems they may have written when they were younger (think: A is for awesome!). Instead, we ended up with some excellent lines like, ‘Dang! So good at teaching reading groups’ for Ms. Dolan or ‘Made to solve tough problems – never to create’ for Ms. Maheras. It was wonderful to see kids come together to brainstorm different reasons why they appreciate their teachers.”

And despite some initial reluctance, students embraced the project–and the idea of reading their poems aloud to their teachers and fellow students. Theo N. said, “I was nervous at first, but it was actually easier than I thought it would be.” When writing his poem thanking Spanish teacher Ms. Sonza (in case you’re wondering, the potentially problematic “Z” was roundly tackled with “Zero chance of being boring”) he noted, “I just found the words.”
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Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.