My favorite poetry activity that I did in my classroom was a Poetry Slam for 5th graders. I was inspired by Sarah Kay’s TED presentation.After watching that video I was determined to show 5th graders the power of spoken word poetry. I did find it a little challenging because there was not a lot of appropriate examples for kids, but I was able to find enough to get the kids excited. Once I got them hooked we talked about what a good performance included, the kids wrote poems about something important to them and they practiced, practiced, practiced! The day of the Poetry Slam, we got a set of risers(our stage), a portable microphone, and a lamp to act as the spot light. We also had hot chocolate and cookies to make it feel like a cafe. I video and audio recorded the performances, which allowed me to easily share on our class webpage and within our school. Here are some resources to teach kids about spoken word poetry and holding a poetry slam of your own!
- Schooltube has several examples of students performing Spoken Word poetry. Here is a video of elementary students performing.
- Edutopia article on Slam Poetry
- What is Spoken Word? PDF file from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Missouri
- Project VOICE: Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye’s project to expose more children to Spoken Word poetry.
- Playlist of Spoken Word performances put together by Sarah Kay, they do provide the disclaimer that the playlist is PG-13.
- High School Spoken Word Unit Plan from readwritethink
Standards that Spoken Word Poetry meets: ISTE NETS:
- 1. Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. b. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
- 2. Communication and Collaboration: Student use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. b. Communication information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
Common Core Anchor Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Please feel free to share students work or other resources you might have for Spoken Word Poetry.