Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Alternate Activity 2: Family Poems

Part of Families

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Paper and writing implements, including markers

Preparation for Activity

  • Print the family senses poem, listed under Description of Activity, on newsprint.

Description of Activity

Note: Participants can repeat this exercise with the families they are profiling in the photo-documentary project. In a field test of this program, participants reported enjoying writing these family poems with/for the families they were interviewing.

You might start this activity by saying, "Sometimes poetry is used to express the essence of something with very few words. We are going to try out one style of writing family poems." You may decide to use this form when talking to the families you photograph. It is so simple that families may be able to compose them on the spot.

Provide an example of a sensory poem that uses a six-line format: color, sound, feel, look, taste, and smell. Read the following example you printed on newsprint:

My family is RED like love.

It SOUNDS like laughter and noise.

It FEELS like a big fleece blanket.

It LOOKS like six people.

It TASTES like German chocolate.

It SMELLS like applesauce.

By Rev. Pat Hoertdoerfer

Provide paper, pencils, and time for participants to compose poems. They may write about their own family or another. They may also consider writing about the same family from the perspective of different members. For example, one participant might write from the perspective of the family dog, while another might write from the perspective of a child. Encourage participants to be creative. If the family car wrote a poem about your family, what would it say?

Invite participants to share their poems.