As smiling parents and excited teachers filed into room 301 at PS 96 in South Ozone Park Monday morning, the fourth-graders in Anna LoMagno’s class smiled anxiously and shuffled their feet nervously.
In a few moments, they would stand up and perform in the school’s second-annual poetry jam.
Some students in Class 4-301 welcomed parents and guests outside the classroom with programs. Armed with cameras and proud smiles, parents waited for their children — and the others in the class — to step up and perform their work.
The performance opened with a song, “Let’s Go,” written and performed by the students, followed by a skit led by Madison Bitna and Serenity Anderson that discussed the history and elements of poetry, including metaphor, simile and onomatopoeia.
Afterwards the students recited their own original poems dedicated to favorite types of food — including ice cream cake and shrimp — and favorite people, including mothers and grandmothers. The children’s lyrics ranged from humorous to heartwarming.
Later, the class recited the poem “Homework, I Love You” by Kenn Nesbitt and closed the jam with a performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” during which parents joined their children.
The hit song’s chorus was used earlier in the jam by one of the students as an example of a simile.
“You should all be proud of yourselves,” Principal Joyce Walker told the class after the performance.
LoMagno added that the poetry jam showed the importance of art education in school.
“We need arts in our curriculum to give students the opportunity to express themselves,” she said.