Word Play At Westside

Connecting Words with Emotions during Literacy Week

Students are lined up in two rows facing each other.

"I love you!"
"I love you!"
"I love you!"

Westside celebrates Literacy Week every year with a wide range of activities designed to inspire and engage students.

Westside celebrates Literacy Week every year with a wide range of activities designed to inspire and engage students.

No, they haven't fallen in love with each other. The Grade 10 and 11 classes are in the midst of a Word Play Poets workshop.

Students have brainstormed and discussed the importance of emotion in writing poetry. The whiteboard is scrawled with every emotion you could think of. 

And now they're practicing adding different emotions and movements to the phrase they've been given (in this case "I love you") as they lance their words across to their partner.

This is just one of the many events organized at Westside as part of Literacy Week. From bookmark-making and a Librarian visit at the Foundation Years Centre to guest authors speaking at the Middle Years Centre, and the cross-campus Drop-Everything-And-Read hour, it's been a busy week of literary appreciation.

Since Westside's crest features an open book beaming with yellow light, this is appropriate. Westside has been celebrating Literacy Week for three years running. It's a new but powerful tradition that brings an appreciation for the written word to students in all grades.

"What are you obsessed with?" one facilitator asks. "You stare at the ceiling and close your eyes, and it just comes to your brain?"

The students are given four minutes to brainstorm all the things they're obsessed with - from caffeine and videogames to basketball, dance, and getting up at noon.

They make their obsessions list and then combine them with an emotion and a sense-based personification.

Word Play 2.jpg
Word Play 3.jpg

Then they share their work.

"Being alive tastes like the tears and sweat of success."

"Hatred tastes like good food ruined by bad entertainment."

"Feeling happy smells like rainbows." 

All students from Grades 8 to 11 had the opportunity to participate in this workshop, which showed students the power of combining their words with their passions. They learned how to combine emotion and language to create writing that connects with readers (or listeners!) more deeply.

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