We have finished our creative exercise on MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail today. The kids had four choices: be a defense lawyer and write Dr. King's Defense, be a journalist and write an article covering the story, respond in a creative form like poetry or write a letter back to Dr. King.
While the kids made different choices, poetry was the most popular by far. Several students were asking to present to the class, so I called an audible (as they say) and made time for that. The poems were tributes to King, really, on his courage and how much strength and the word I'd use is godliness it must have taken to respond to violence with nonviolence. There were kids who took prodding and several who spent more time sketching than writing, but over all, I'm so pleased. When I asked them if they'd ever been asked to do something like this before--that is, respond in some creative written way to a piece of literature--most of them said no. I'll continue learning about these kids as time goes on, but it would not stun me to learn that most of their assignments have been worksheets they were to fill in.