MAIS, 2011 Slam Poetry in the Upper Elementary Classroom MaryAnn Buhr and Rachel Rocky Bernstein Introduction: The Spoken Word Revolution, as it has been called is upon us! Slam poetry and hip-hop are quickly becoming some of the main tools to teach poetry to kids. This movement, started in Chicago, is growing internationally, with slam scenes in Germany, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Holland, and many more. Objective: To give the 3-12th grade teacher the resources to do a slam poetry unit with their class Introduce teachers to the concept of performance poetry as a tool for second language learners to grow as holistic writers To help teachers to create safe space for students to express themselves through writing and performance How to incorporate slam into your classroom: Length: We recommend 3-4 weeks in duration Materials: poetry portfolio, perhaps with illustrations as well. 8-10 poems long, computer for youtube videos, copies of poems to read as a class Lesson Format 1. Poet Talk-Take time to share insights on the lives of poets. What they say and what aspects of life revealed the poetry. 2. Poetry Read Aloud and Minilesson-When reading new poems avoid long introductions. Simply read aloud without analyzing. Then read it again, ask for comments, or invite partners to talk with each other. -In a lesson it could be appropriate for students to respond to poems through sketches, or respond in a writer´s journal. 3. Poetry Projects and Centers- Students use this time to -Read and respond to poems from poetry books -Draft, revise, and edit their own poems -Create art to accompany the poem -Confer with the teacher -Work in Centers 4. Poetry Sharing- Come back as a class and students share work. Here students can come invite feedback from their peers. Poetry Center Ideas: Language- Students share words and language that fascinates. Have a board where students can post and add words they have found Listening- Students can hear poetry read aloud. Poetry Window- An area is designated with clipboards, pencils, and paper where students can write and sketch what they feel. Illustration- Students can use a variety of art media to illustrate poems Unit Outline: Week 1: Introduce students to Poetry and Figurative Language Each day introduce a new poem to the kids to read aloud as a class so kids can see the format of poetry on a daily basis. Select poems on different themes, form, and authors so the kids are able to see a variety. Throughout the week also use music as a form to introduce the concepts of poetry. The first week is focused on finding and using figurative language. After determining the meaning of figurative language students go on figurative language hunts through poetry books to find examples. Through the week students practice applying the use of figurative language by describing normal everyday objects and making them come to life. Week 2: Knowing Sound Devices and writing with structure Continue reading aloud poems on a daily basis finding uses of figurative language then start to identify poetic devices in the daily reading. Teach poetic devices only a couple at a time so students can completely understand the uses. Have students identify poetic devices in poetry and apply their knowledge through creating fixed form poetry. This could be done through haikus, diamantes, limericks, or through other fixed form poems that show line, stanza, rhyme, or any of the other poetic devices. Week 3: What is Slam Poetry? Show videos on you tube of slam poets and discuss, what is slam poetry? Have a slam poet come in to do examples as well. Have students pick parts of their lives that they are passionate about to free write poems. Read aloud student progress as the week goes on. During this time students will be creating many poems in the rough draft form. Narrow down the poems to a few select ones that the students will turn into their best work. Make sure to guide students with using poetic devices to enhance their writing. Week 4: Preparing for the Slam This is the week where students are finishing up final drafts and practicing for the slam. Continue showing a slam example a day and have kids detail what they notice in the presentation of slam poetry. Make sure to emphasize the use of voice, movement, language, and pauses are important in this type of poetry. With partners the students determine what parts of the poem to emphasize while performing their poem. Then the students practice in small groups to help fine tune poems. Week 5: The Slam! Pick a space on campus where you can get your students and their parents and then have other teachers or parents “score” the slam. We used a scale of good-awesome, giving the prize at the end to the poet whose work we felt deserved to win based on audience support and “high scores”. **Make sure you keep track of who’s getting what so that you can determine the winner. Basics of Poetry/Vocabulary: Line: the line is printed as one single line on the page. If it occupies more than one line, its remainder is usually indented to indicate that it is a continuation. Stanza: A division of a poem created by arranging the lines into a unit or paragraph. The stanzas within a poem are separated by blank lines. Rhyme Scheme: The pattern established by the arrangement of rhymes in a stanza or poem, generally described by using letters of the alphabet to denote the recurrence of rhyming lines, such as the ababbcc of the Rhyme Royal stanza form. Sounds DevicesAlliteration: Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines Example: fast and furious Assonance: Repeated vowel sounds in words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines. Example: Peter and Andrew patted the pony at Ascot Consonance: Repeated consonant sounds at the ending of words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines. Example: boats into the past Onomatopoeia: Words that sound like their meanings. Example: boom, buzz, crackle, gurgle, hiss, pop, sizzle, snap, swoosh, whir, zip Repetition: The purposeful re-use of words and phrases for an effect. Example: Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Rhyme: Words that have different beginning sounds but whose endings sound alike, including the final vowel sound and everything following it. Rhythm: pattern of accented syllables separated by unaccented syllables. There are five basic rhythms: Pattern Name Example – / Iamb/Iambic invite / – Trochee/Trochaic deadline – – / Anapest/Anapestic to the beach / – – Dactyl/Dactylic frequently / / Spondee/Spondaic true blue Figurative Language Metaphor: A direct comparison between two unlike things, stating that one is the other or does the action of the other. Example: He’s a zero. Pun: Word play in which words with totally different meanings have similar or identical sounds. Example: Like a firefly in the rain, I’m de-lighted. Simile: A direct comparison of two unlike things using “like” or “as.” Example: He’s as dumb as an ox. Personification: Attributing human characteristics to an inanimate object, animal, or abstract idea. Example: The days crept by slowly, sorrowfully. Forms of Poetry Formula: A poem which follows a set pattern of meter, rhyme scheme, and stanza: -Limerick: humorous 5 line poems. The first and second lines rhyme, as do the 3rd and the fourth. The fifth line is a humorous surprise statement that rhymes with the first 2 lines. -Cinquain: 5 line poem built off of syllables. The structure goes 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables -Haiku: A form of poetry that originated in Japan. Uses simple language and rarely includes metaphor. Made up of 3 lines. Normally the structure goes 5,7, and 5 syllables. **There are many more formulaic poems. To find the structure and examples go to the following website: http://www.angelfire.com/ct2/evenski/poetry/assignments.html Free Verse: lines with no prescribed pattern or structure — the poet determines all the variables as seems appropriate for each poem Open: poetic form free from regularity and consistency in elements such as rhyme, line length, and metrical form Found: Pieces of writing that were not intended as poems but appear in the environment to discover. These types of poems can be found in newspaper ads, signs, or in written or oral language Narrative: Tell a story or a sequence or events. Ballads and epics are types of narratives. Concrete: Dramatically represents meaning not only by the sound of words but also by how they look. The print takes on the form of a collage with different fonts and newsprint. Lyric: It is personal and descriptive. It is a melodic that conveys a sense of song. List: May rhyme or not, short or long. Listing objects, a series of events, specific characteristics, or any other set of items. Other 1-2 day lesson ideas: “The Distance,” Danny Sherrard http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlTSQJWIqxM Vocab: refrain, abstract noun Lesson: What is the refrain in Danny’s poem? (Answer: “the distance”). Brainstorm a list of abstract nouns on the board together. Use one of these nouns as the refrain for your poem. Experiment with using the article “the” or not. What is the difference between “the love” and “love” being your refrain? “The Newer Collusus” Karen Finneyfrock and “Skinhead” by Patricia Smith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aebVRlwYzfY Vocab: Persona poem Lesson: Who is Karen personifying? What about Patricia? What does it mean to personify something? Have your students pick something they want to personify. Poem one: personify an object and follow it through the day. What are some things that the object sees? How does it feel? Who does it come in contact with? How can you tell the audience what the object is, without using the object’s name itself? Poem two: personify a person or group of people. Preferably someone who you have a strong connection to and who feel you can appropriately talk for. NOTE: Be very careful with appropriation of another person’s struggle with persona poems. This is an amazing activity to open dialogue about other people/cultures/races/class groups etc.; it is also very dangerous for a person to think that by speaking for a group (who he/she may or may not be a part of) he can solve their problems. Remind your students that persona poems are about exploring a new territory through a new voice. Other Ideas: Watch! Listen! Watch! Youtube has thousands of videos of slammers. Here are a few poets to look up who have (at least a few) kid-friendly poems. ALWAYS SCREEN A POEM BEFORE YOU SHOW IT! Karen Finneyfrock Buddy Wakefield Mahogany Brown Jive Poetic Blair Adam Falkner Jon Sands Rachel McKibbons Patiricia Smith Marc Bamithu Joseph Cristin O’Keefe Aptowitz Bring in a visiting artist! Slam poets are everywhere. Here is a list of slam venues with contact information across the USA and Europe. Or befriend a slammer (like Rocky) and s/he will gladly put you in touch with a competent (and hungry) poet who would love to be paid for his/her art!! There is nothing like being able to watch a poet on youtube and then meeting him/her in person--a truly life-changing experience for kids. (Also google: slam + your city) Spain: Poetry Slam Barcelona: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000713093524 Poetry Slam Madrid: https://www.facebook.com/poetryslammadrid Portugal: Poetry Slam Lisboa: https://www.facebook.com/poetryslam.lisboa Germany: http://www.slam2011.de/ Lars Ruppel and Sebastian 23 USA: New York Urbana: Cristin O’Keefe Aptowitz http://aptowicz.com/ New York LouderArts: James Merenda louderarts.com Youth Speaks: http://youthspeaks.org/voice/arts-in-education/ http://youthspeaks.org/voice/arts-in-education/ Writing Prompts: **Note: we did not edit these from the original authors to preserve integrity, but they are all appropriate. You may need to tailor them a bit to fit the level of your students Visualization - Seth Walker Visualization Begin by thinking of a moment in your life which dramatically changed it. Dwell in the memory until you can fully experience the heat of the moment. Description) Describe a few seconds of that moment. Include as many of the 5 of the senses each of your images as possible. ~Further steps~ Revision) Go back over the poem and make sure that each line has multiple sensory images. (sight & smell, touch/texture and taste) Editing) Lace the important images into each other, cutting out wasted "connection based" words. Cut away images which are distracting to the main focus. Editing Goal) The poem must be 5 lines or less. 5 Easy Pieces - Daemond Arrindell 1. Remember a person you know well 2. Imagine a place where you find that person 3. Describe the person’s hands 4. Describe something he or she is doing with their hands 5. Use a metaphor to say something about some exotic place 6. Mention what you would want to ask this person in the context of 4 and 5 above. 7. The person looks up toward you, notices you, and gives an answer that suggests he or she only gets part of what you asked Origin Myth - Maya Phillips **A great add on to a social studies unit! Some of the most popular and interesting myths of a culture are the origin myths. 1) Look up a myth and pick a subject within the myth--a human, an animal, a deity, etc-and describe its origins. 2) Describe the origin of the myth itself, simply as a story. How do these stories develop and expand? What makes a myth? What is the relationship between mythology, faith, and fiction? Trace each thread of your subject to its possible beginnings. Determine what makes a myth and what it reflects about the people who believe it. Instructional Poem - David Winter Write a set of instructions for something you know how to do by heart. This could be a recipe (your grandmother's brownies), an emotional process (how to fall in love), an act of craftsmanship (how to weave a basket), or an action so simple you may not remember how you learned it (how to tie your shoes). Be specific in the details that you use, and allow the instructive voice to become formal, colloquial, or intimate as appropriate. To whom are you giving these instructions? Why is it important that this information be passed on? Trust in your deep knowledge of the subject you're writing about, and let the language that describes it surprise you. Ekphrasis - Jive Poetic **A great add on to the art classroom. Instead of a picture, maybe use a piece of art being studied. Ekphrasis has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience. — Wikipedia PROMPT OPTIONS: Choose a photograph of a person you don't know. A. Write a poem to this person. B. Write a poem about this person. C. Write a poem about what happened right before, during or after this picture. D. Write a poem introducing this person to a real person in your life. Resources: Websites: -Jon Sands http://www.jonsands.com/index.html -Write Fuzzy/Write Bloody books: http://writebloody.com/store/ -LouderArts Collective List of Writing Prompts: http://www.louderarts.com/index.php/writing-prompts -Adam Falkner: www.adamfalknerarts.com -Geoff and Emily Kagan Trenchard kagantrenchard.com poetryfoundation.org poets.org pw.org writersalmanac.publicradio.org rachelmckibbons.blogspot.com English Teaching: Practice and Critique December, 2006, Volume 5, Number 3 http://education.waikato.ac.nz/research/files/etpc/2006v5n3art5.pdf pp. 127-136http://rachelmckibbons.blogspot.com/ http://rachelmckibbons.blogspot.com/ Books: The spoken word Revolution Pedagogy of the Oppressed - Paulo Friere Handbook of Poetic Forms - Ron Padgett The Artist Way - Julia Cameron The Pocket Muse - Monica Wood Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6-Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell Contact Info: Rocky: [email protected] MaryAnn: [email protected] Bios: Rachel Rocky Bernstein has been performing in slam since she was 17. She has been on multiple national slam teams. Her self-published book The Violin Maker’s Daughter came out November 2010, and she was the featured American poet at the Deutschsprachigen slam nationals in 2010 in Bochum Germany and has toured through the USA and Germany. Rocky has been teaching poetry in various schools throughout the USA and now Spain. She holds a degree from the University of Washington in music education and is the elementary music specialist at the Benjamin Franklin International School here in Barcelona where she also started the poetry club and the school’s Gay Straight Alliance. MaryAnn Buhr is an Arizona native at her first international teaching job here in Barcelona. She has been teaching upper elementary for 4 years and holds a Masters Degree in Language and Literacy from Arizona State University. Her passion for collaborative education has brought her to do work not only in slam poetry, but in writing, reading and music collaborations with various teachers in Arizona and Barcelona.
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