Saturday, March 24, 2012

Slam Poetry Resources

The following is an email regarding the implementation of slam poetry from dear friend (and fellow teacher) Stephanie Nudleman. I am so appreciative that she was willing to share her resources and knowledge.

Here are a bunch of attached resources, including an amazing document from the Young Chicago Writers.  Read it, love it, take stuff from it.  Every other document is something I made myself, so steal those and modify them for your own kids.

Poems I've used for high school slamxamples:

Blue Blanket - Andrea Gibson
Bi-Racial Hair - Zora 
POW - Alicia Keys
Pretty - Katie Makkai
Grandmother - Mayda del Valle (Article from Washington Post w. review and poem)
Awkward Scars - Robbie Q Telfer
Totally Like Whatever You Know - Taylor Mali

And my goodness use all of these, because I know these amazing people:
Listen to "Egypt" and cry your face off.

There are a ton more.  Those are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head.

Specific directions:

I started class every day with a quick speech exercise.  It was usually a tongue twister on the board that the students had to say three times fast (correctly!) to be marked present.  Then, one day I wrote "blah" ten times on the white board, passed out a different tone notecard for each student, put all of the options for the tone words on the board, and had the students say "blah" ten times and had the other students guess which tone the student was portraying.  To make it easier, you can use the sentence "i notice people staring at me everywhere i go" one day and then do the Blah exercise a few days later.  We eventually did the same exercise -- with the tone notecards -- for expression through body language and facial expression.  Some of those exercises, and a bunch I didn't use but considered using, are gathered in this "hodgepodge of speech exercises" document.

Also, the day we opened with "what is slam poetry," I had them start class by writing a response to a prompt on the board that said, "if you could say one sentence to the entire world, what would you say?"  This was before we discussed what slam is and does and watched a few videos.  I very much entwined both viewing and writing slam poetry throughout the unit.  I think I had them watch a slam poem every other day.


Other documents written by Stephanie. I apologize that Google Docs has messed up her formatting.

How to write a SLAM poem 

A hint to Stephanie/SLAM vocab taken from the Speed, emphasis, facial expression and tone activity :

·       Speed:  How quickly should your poem be read?
·       Emphasis:  Which words should be said louder or softer?
·       Facial Expression:  What emotion should your face show?
·       Tone:  What tone should you use when performing?
Student assessment rubric and self-evaluation worksheet. 

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