Hope is The Thing With Feathers (Activity)

Activity Name: “Hope Is the Thing With Feathers”

Recommended Grades: 1-2 (with supervision), 3-8 (independently)

Time: 30 mins - 2 hours

Materials List: Sidewalk chalk, Paper, colored pencils/markers, stapler, push pins


The other day, I was walking my dog around my neighborhood when I realized that most of the telephone poles in the area had pieces of paper attached to them. Curious, I investigated and found that someone had stapled copies of Emily Dickinson’s famous poem: “Hope is the thing with feathers.”

Take a minute to read the poem below:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.



I was clear to me that whoever had posted this poem was attempting to connect with their neighborhood community by spreading a positive message. This inspired me to pass this story along to you - and ask you participate with your own version of the poem!

Instructions:

  1. Think up your own version of “Hope,” that you would like to share with your neighborhood. It can be another poem, a story, song lyrics, or you can use sidewalk chalk to draw symbols or write a positive message.

  2. Head out into your neighborhood, and look for places to post your message. Some places include:

    1. Stapling/pinning to telephone poles

    2. Using sidewalk chalk on public places


Some important tips:

  • Make sure that your message is kind, and positive! Remember, we are trying to find ways to spread positivity in our community.

  • Only post your message(s) in public locations. That includes telephone poles, sidewalks, the driveway of a public park. Only draw/post on the driveway of a private property if you have permission from the owner!

  • You can crush up sidewalk chalk and mix it with water, then can paint with it using a brush!

Consider these questions, or ask a friend:

  • What makes you feel hope?

  • What do others say to you to make you feel good?

  • What are some other good feelings or emotions besides feeling “good?”

  • Do you like to feel hopeful? Empowered? Talented? Caring?

  • What message can you spread that makes others feel those same good feelings?

References:

Emily Dickinson, "'Hope' is the Thing with Feathers" from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University press, Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Reprinted by permissions of the publishers and Trustees of Amherst College.

Photo of feather used is stock/public use.


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