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Auntie Laurel teaches Hawaii kids to deal with their emotions through poetry

  • COURTESY LAUREL NAKANISHI
                                Laurel Nakanishi teaches a poetry lesson as a part of the “Writing with Auntie Laurel” series.

    COURTESY LAUREL NAKANISHI

    Laurel Nakanishi teaches a poetry lesson as a part of the “Writing with Auntie Laurel” series.

All you need is a pen and paper and local art teacher Laurel Nakanishi will help you with the rest. Nakanishi has created interactive video lessons, “Writing with Auntie Laurel,” using her 11 years of experience to help children express themselves through poetry.

Nakanishi has developed 11 videos, which deal with sensory details, figurative language, point of view, character development and epistolary (letter-writing) poems.

Each video lesson is less than 10 minutes long, some are paired with an additional video that featues a hands-on art project relating to the learning goal of the lessons. There are also several handouts for keiki to complete that can also be assigned as homework.

Nakanishi began the lesson plan as a way for children to express themselves during these hard times and hopes kids can use poetry to deal with all their emotions.

“I made these videos thinking about the kids stuck at home and how this difficult time can be stressful,” she said. “Poetry is a way to spend some time to understand where their emotions are and having an outlet.

“Poetry has a lot to offer us as a mode of self-­expression and you don’t need a lot of supplies, just something to write on,” Nakanishi said.

All videos and handouts are available on her website. As Nakanishi gets feedback from students and teachers, she will consider plans for another lesson series.

Writing with Auntie Laurel

Poetry writing ­videos for kids 8-12 (grades 3-5)

>> Where: laurel nakanishi.com/online-edu.html

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