Middle School is located in the small West Texas town of McCamey, whose
1,800 residents reside about an hour south of Odessa. Energy
has always been a focus
of the city's economy, and indeed it was founded as an oilboom town in
the beginning of the last century. McCamey continues to play an
important role in the energy sector and it is now a recognized
resource of alternative energy. The
Texas legislature even declared McCamey "the Wind Energy Capital of
Texas" as a result of the large number of wind farms built in the area.
There is another side to McCamey that involves a very different type of
energy resource. You might call it "creative energy". Indeed,
more fitting appellation for the town might be "the Poetry
Captital of Texas".
Image by Bob Daemmrich
Type "McCamey, Texas" into the search box on any page of MWW,
and the search will yield more than 10 pages of poetry composed by the
students of Ms. Terri Hall's fifth and sixth grade language arts
classes at McCamey Middle School. To say that Ms. Hall's
poets are prolific would be an
We first noticed a large number of poetry submissions coming from this
Texas community back in September 2011. We knew that either
something unique was in the drinking water of McCamey, or this
project. We made contact with Ms. Hall and learned about her very
progressive approach to teaching poetry, one that combines traditional
with an interactive digital model.
The results have been overwhelming. The students learn about a
particular genre of poetry, then craft their own verses according to
this genre and submit to MWW for publication. They are so
involved in the work that they take the time to read and critique the
submissions of their student colleagues through our reader comments
The online aspect provides a great way for the families of the students
participate in the project. This is evident in the large number
of comments they submit and this is certainly an additional
of motivation for the young poets.
What is most inspiring to us is that the students are now submitting
poems that are not part of their classroom assignments.
The poems cover subjects such as friendship, familial
life challenges, and so much more. This is perhaps the greatest proof
that through the use of
digital resources, teachers have another compelling, efficacious
approach in the quest to motivate students to write.
collaboration with Ms. Hall and the students at McCamey Middle School
has been tremendously rewarding for us. We believe it can serve as a
model for other schools
in a variety of subject areas.
more about McCamey, Texas at the City of McCamey Website, and about McCamey Middle School
at the McCamey Middle School Website