The Power of Words - This video is lesson one, and is the first video is an online slam poetry video series designed specifically for teachers who would like to use slam poetry in their classroom to get their students excited about creative writing.
This video is between 13 minutes long. An audio version is also available for those who enjoy podcasts and audio books. The objective of this lesson is to introduce slam poetry and create a safe place for students to take a creative risk and try slam for the first time.
Each video in the series is a stand-alone lesson that can be taught on its own, but each subsequent lesson builds on the writing objectives and principals of the one before it, so it can also be taught as an entire module.
Each lesson has an instructional video, a downloadable lesson plan with learning objectives, as well as, 'Sample' slam video performances. As a slam poet myself, I wrote and performed short videos examples, so it would be easy for your students to see and hear what their slam could sound like before they start writing.
All this material is provided for you in one place to make teaching slam poetry as fun, convenient and easy for teachers as possible. If you are interested in slam poetry, but you've never written it yourself or even been to a poetry slam, I have a free email course that you're welcome to check out. It will give you a really great introduction to the world of slam poetry and why it's such a powerful tool for engaging and empowering students. http://rikleaf.com/slam-poetry-intro/
In each zip file, you'll find a pdf Lesson Plan, an MP3 audio file and a word doc that has links to the videos
Overview - Why Slam Poetry is so Powerful in the Classroom
Slam Poetry is the combination of creative writing and creative performance. Where traditional poets wrote for the eye, and audiences experienced their poetry through published journals and books, a slam poet writes for the ear. Audiences only experience slam poetry when the poet performs it.
The creative performance element of slam poetry is equally as powerful and important but for different reasons. Slam poetry is different than acting because we don’t use costumes or props. It’s also different than rap or hip-hop because there are no beats and no music. It’s just about words. So you don’t have to be interested in theater or want to be an actor and you don’t need to be musical or have any expensive gear or equipment…it’s just about words and finding your way of expressing yourself.
At a poetry slam, the audience is an active participant. Everyone knows it can be scary to get up in front of people and read or perform. So when the slam master (teacher) calls the next poet to the stage, (front of the room) we clap and cheer them all the way from their seat to the stage. And if we like something that the poet said, or how they said it, we give them snaps. We snap our fingers because it’s just loud enough they can hear, but it’s not so loud that we miss the next thing they might be saying. This creates a really fun, interactive and supportive environment in a classroom.
The first step is the hardest, and taking a creative risk and try something new takes courage and a safe and supportive environment. This is a HUGE part of why slam poetry has proven to be so effective in schools. It provides a unique opportunity not only in how students approach being creative as writers, it also transforms the classroom into a dynamic environment that supports and encourages creative risk-taking.
As a slam poet myself, I felt a video series was the best way to communicate this material so teachers can see and hear the dynamic combination of creative writing and performance. I have taught this material to students from Grade 3 - 12. You can check out this free intro video to see how engaged students are! https://vimeo.com/194460908