Video & Commentary

A Class Poetry Slam

The following video is from one of the class poetry slams, which was part of the final assessment of the unit. To celebrate the release of their 8th grade poetry anthology, each 8th grade class organized a poetry slam and open mic. During both the slam and the open mic, students were able to show off the original poems they wrote for the anthology.

The poetry slams in particular were competitive, with multiple rounds of competition and classmates participating as judges. Because of the multiple rounds, students were asked to prepare at least two poems, including the poem they wrote for the anthology.

While the slams were fun, I knew that not everyone would feel comfortable presenting a poem in a competitive setting, so we also held a non-competitive open mic. Each student was required to share, but they had a choice between sharing in a competitive or non-competitive way. Both the poetry slam and open mic came at the end of a mini unit-within-a-unit about performing poetry, and the students had spent a lot of time learning about how performance can affect the meaning of a poem. Thus, the open mic and poetry slam were not only a way to showcase what each student was able to create, but also to show what they had learned about poetry performance and spoken-word poems.