Video Time: 8:20
In this lesson we explore perspective, encouraging students to identify their personal voice on a subject, as well as viewing their poem and performance from the perspective of the audience.
This lesson draws on all the writing objectives and prompts from previous lessons, and focuses on the power of the poet to make their subject, 'come alive' through their performance.
This video is a stand-alone lesson that can be taught on its own, but it also builds on the writing objectives and principals of the lessons before it, so it can also be taught as an entire module.
This lesson has an instructional video, a downloadable lesson plan with learning objectives, as well as a, 'Sample' slam video performance. As a slam poet myself, I wrote and performed a short video as an example so your students can see and hear what their slam can 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.
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.