Introducing slam and spoken word in your lesson plan is a great way to engage students with poetry! Where some (or most!) students may bemoan dissecting stuffy old poems that don’t speak to their experience, slam is based in youth culture and is meant to connect with audiences, especially live and in person. More than performance art, it’s a modern movement that has reinvigorated an interest in poetry as a powerful creative tool for personal and social change.
I am an experienced mentor and workshop facilitator who continues to cultivate a passion for working with youth. Whether it’s a one-on-one, group, or classroom setting, I have translated my own narrative of learning into discussions, exercises, and lesson plans that have brought out some fantastic writing and performances from students in every age group. It’s been a pleasure to work with schools to build spaces of community support and sharing, and to watch even some of the smallest voices take the mic and transform themselves in front of an entire group of peers.
- Single session workshops/presentations that are easily adaptable to a poetry unit lesson plan. Sessions might explore an introduction slam poetry with a live performance and video examples, as well as a discussion of the history and social context of the movement. Exercises may include breaking down some basic principles of writing (poem structure and devices) and performing (tools of communication). The cost for a class session is $4 per student, and prices can be negotiated for multiple classes in a school.
- School residencies (one week minimum) through Manitoba Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools program. Covering a range of topics and writing and performance tools, we’ll build a series of individual and collaborative performance pieces that root the student in their own experience as an individual, as well as a member of a community. The residency culminates in a sharing session that may include individual classes, or the entire group of participants!
- Short or tong-term projects through MAC’s ArtsSmarts program. With funding from MAC, we collaborate on integrating spoken word into your school’s programming in any form, ranging from one-off workshops with a single group, to a project that may span an entire school year – all based on curriculum standards. Visit my blog post on a recently completed project, which includes links to video examples from others as well. ArtsSmarts I developmental grants are ongoing, but ArtsSmarts II long-term project grants have fixed deadlines.
- Professional development workshops for teachers, where we’ll run through exercises, games, and discussions on how to bolster your students’ interest in poetry. A fun, creative session that’s perfect for inservice days!
Click here for an example of a detailed lesson plan that reflects Manitoba curriculum outcomes. No matter the length of a visit, these principles are the basis for each workshop. They have worked well to foster an interest in poetry in various forms, as well as to build skills in creative, constructive thinking and personal expression. They can be adapted to suit various needs, as I reserve the space to collaborate with educators on providing the best lessons to their individual groups.
Let’s connect and work together to inspire the next generation to feel confident in speaking out loud!
Photo credit: Brett Reid