Writing tips shine like stained glass on the windows in Patrick Vetere’s second grade classroom at Increase Miller Elementary School. In that peaceful space, students craft rhyming couplets with guest poet Ted Scheu.
“Pay attention to rhyme and rhythm, and check that what you write makes sense,” cautions Scheu. “These are loose rules. You are in charge. Okey-dokey, artichokey?”
Scheu, an annual guest at Katonah-Lewisboro's elementary schools, zoomed into second grade classes across the district this winter from his home in Vermont.
An unexpected benefit of the virtual visit was glimpsing Scheu's writer’s studio. Slanted ceilings placed him on the top floor. Like the students' classroom, there were plenty of books as well as windows and a globe. Close enough to pull to the camera, there were easels of large paper on which Scheu had written poems to share with students: “Foghorns” by Lilian Moore and “Things” by Eloise Greenfield.
All of that was background to Scheu’s forte: word play. A lively group rhyming session warmed up the students’ writing muscles. Then, ten minutes of writing time. Students shared their favorite rhyming couplet with Scheu and their classmates.
“A buffalo without a horn,
A pop without corn.
“Christmas without a tree,
Nectar without a bee.”
Ted Scheu delighted in the students’ work. He reminded them to keep writing and to send him their poems, noting that each year he receives about a dozen poems from Increase Miller Elementary School students.
“See you later, refrigerator,” he signed off.