Drafting a Definition and Understanding of Spoken Word
Spoken word is a great way to not only introduce your students to poetry, but also as a way for students to engage with this participatory art form.
In this lesson, students will draft their own definition and cultivate a solid understanding of spoken word by engaging with three types of resources: 1) watch & listen to a spoken word commencement speech by 2016 Harvard graduate, Donovan Livingston, 2) read and analyze an article by spoken word poet Kyle "Guante" Tran Myhre, and 3) consult the definition provided by The Poetry Foundation.
Unique details of this lesson?
- Students study the topic using three different types of resources (visual/audio, informed opinion piece, and a definition by a professional organization)
- Permission was granted by Mr. Tran Myhre to use his article, "10 Things Everyone Should Know About Spoken Word and Slam Poetry" in this lesson
- 40+ comprehension questions accompany the article to help students dive deeper into the text, learn new vocabulary, and slow them down for reflective, close reading.
- Students are empowered to create their own definitions based upon their experiences and textual investigation of the topic, spoken word
- A 2-page student guide sheet to help students through the process of drafting a definition and documenting their growing understanding of spoken word
- 2 formats of the article are provided: a full-text version and a 10-text card version that breaks down each of the "10 things" one should know about spoken word on to 10 manageable cards. This helps accommodate learners of varying abilities and needs.
This lesson can take anywhere from 2 to 4, hour-long class periods, depending on how you utilize the article/reading comprehension activity, and how much class discussion you want to have. The flexibility that this lesson allows is helpful in differentiating within and across your classes.
This detailed lesson includes:
- Aligned CCSS Anchor Standards
- Aligned Teaching Tolerance & Anti-Bias Anchor Standards
- 'Drafting a Definition' Student Guide, leading students to investigate the performance of Mr. Livingston, the article by "Guante," and a definition provided by The Poetry Foundation
- 'Drafting a Definition' Teacher Resource & Notes
- Link to Mr. Livingston's 2016 Harvard graduation spoken word commencement speech
- Full copy of the 6 page article:10 Things Everyone Should Know About Spoken Word and Slam Poetry by Kyle "Guante" Tran Myhre (with permission from the author!)
- Article investigation sheet with 40+ reading comprehension questions
- Answer key for the Investigation sheet
- 10 Text Cards that break down the article into more manageable pieces, each with the corresponding reading comprehension questions. Answer key provided.
Skills developed in this lesson
- Determining central ideas or themes of a text
- Summarizing key supporting details & ideas
- Integrating & evaluating how content is presented in diverse formats
- Making logical inferences
- Analyzing how multiple texts contribute to knowledge building
- Identifying figures, groups, events, and a variety of strategies & philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.
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Sincerely, Beth Salyers
Off The Beaten Path - Curriculum & Instruction
If you like this lesson, check out these:
The Canon Project: Thinking Critically When Evaluating Text & Media
You Call That Music? Investigating how Structure, Technique, and Word Choice Matter
Star-Spangled Style: How Style, Imagery, & Voice Matter