Meyer Presents at Minnesota Council of English Teachers Conference
Big Lake High School English Teacher Laura Meyer presented at the Minnesota Council of English Teachers Conference on May 3, 2019. Her presentation with Melissa Wray from Loft Literary Center spoke about the positive and lasting impact of Poetry Out Loud on students at Big Lake High School.
Meyer has been with Big Lake Schools for 21 years and has coordinated the Poetry Out Loud contest for 11 years. Poetry Out Loud is a National Poetry Recitation Contest for high school students that was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The contest begins in the classroom with a school level competition, then moves on to state and then nationals in Washington, D.C. Big Lake students have placed in the top 6 at the state level.
Each year, students in all Big Lake English classes are encouraged to participate in Poetry Out Loud and participate in poetry exploration and analysis at the classroom level. Then, students who choose to compete recite their poems for local community member judges during the competition which takes place during the school day to guarantee all students may participate. As students memorize the poem, they learn to describe mixed emotions and to distinguish subtle shifts in their tone and mood. Finding a poem a student connects with on a personal level has been empowering. This year’s competition at Big Lake High School, which was held in December, had 34 students competing. Freshman Emma Vogt and junior Korri Wojack moved on to the state competition in March.