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Mrs. Cain's Poet Ts Exploration diving into the life, times, and poems of Emily Dickinson with Writer-In-Residence Joni Wallace.

"Poet Ts:" A Friday Exploration

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all - Emily Dickinson 
On October 22, Beth Cain's "Poet Ts" class explored the life, times, and poems of Emily Dickinson with TGS Writer-in Residence Joni Wallace.

How do Friday Explorations support our mission and our community? Friday Explorations:

  • Invite students to explore a subject more deeply or in a new direction, augment their learning, or try something entirely new. 
  • Enable teachers to introduce students to their own knowledge, interests, and community connections that may not fit in a traditional school day.
  • Help ensure that our 6 Cs (Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Community, and Compassion)  are integrated throughout a student’s time at TGS.
  • Expand students' community and school experience as they meet and work with students and faculty who are not in their regular classes.
  • Encourage student agency both by asking students to reflect on their interests as they select their classes and by providing the opportunity for students to recommend, plan, and collaborate with faculty on Exploration ideas.

Touching on many of these Friday Exploration benefits, Joni Wallace, TGS writer-in-residence, and Middle School English teacher Beth Cain hosted an exploration focusing on the poetry of Emily Dickinson. With the expertise and personal insights of Ms. Wallace, students in grades 6 - 10 explored the magic and nuances of Dickinson's work and then spent time reading some of her poetry on their own. 

In a culminating activity, each student chose a passage of poetry that spoke to them and created t-shirts that displayed the words and images of this well loved American poet. 

"I really enjoyed learning more about Emily Dickinson," Cora Boyden '28 said. "I did not know that she might have had seizures and I did not know that her family burned some of her work. I also really enjoyed drawing on shirts. It is so fun! Finally, the cookies were delicious. Thank you for doing the poet Ts. I enjoyed the experience and hope you do another poet Ts exploration again."

The Gregory School is very fortunate to have Joni Wallace as part of the faculty this year.  When not leading explorations, Ms. Wallace helps to facilitate the Writing Center, located on the Upper School side of campus.

"Literature helps us see the world through many different lenses, and one of the biggest rewards that I get from teaching Middle School English is watching students learn to see things from different perspectives.  I appreciate and honor the trust that parents give me to approach difficult topics in literature with sensitivity, honesty, and, I hope, clarity."

Beth Cain, M.S.

Beth Cain holds an M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of North Texas and a B.A. in Music Education from the University of Texas, Arlington. Her Ph.D in Music Education is in progress.