Students “Breakout” in poetry competition

FHS 2015 Graduate Sera Simons Brown came home fully certified in just three years!

Poetry, competition and a hasp filled with locks … what do these have in common? It's a Poetry Breakout competition where teams work through puzzles or challenges, and each solution reveals the clue to open a lock on a hasp containing several types of locks.

“It is challenging and interactive!” said QISD Secondary Curriculum Director, Alice Lafferty.

English II teacher, and Ford High School graduate, Sera Simons Brown and Instructional Coach Cheryl Court planned, created, and implemented the breakout. Not only did teams compete during each class period but even across the school day.

“What is most inspiring about seeing the complex questioning and progression of thinking is that Mrs. Simons is a first-year teacher and a 2015 Ford High School graduate who came home to teach. She took part in the dual credit program in high school that helped pave the way for her to become a fully certified teacher in just three years,” said Lafferty.

In describing the breakout box lesson, Mrs. Simons knew that poetry could be very difficult to teach.

She wanted to create a hands-on, competitive experience that allowed her students to analyze poems in an engaging way. With the help of QISD Instructional Coach Cheryl Court, they created a Poetry Breakout competition.

“When we started our poetry unit, my students were not enthused, but that quickly changed. Every student was engaged and involved in this lesson. They were given the opportunity to collaborate and move around to complete the puzzles. It was truly amazing to see my students so thrilled about poetry. I am so proud of these students and all of their hard work. We are so thankful for all of Mrs. Court's help!” said Brown.