Poetry Slam

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Students will be able to present using appropriate eye contact, volume, and clear pronunciation by reading their poem aloud in a poetry slam. Students will identify the main points of a speaker's message by listening to poems and recording main ideas or examples of lovely language.

Big Idea

Speaking and listening meet up with a poetry slam.

Daily Grammar

10 minutes

 Today's bellwork was done as a quiz.  We've covered all the concepts in this paragraph, so today's work will be used to assess if students are making progress.


Guidelines for Presenting for Speakers and Listeners

10 minutes

Prior to the poetry slam, I discussed the skills that speakers and listeners need to have.  They're two very different skills, but both are equally important.


Speakers have the responsibility to present using appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.  This description comes straight from the common core standard (SL.7.4).


I modeled using inappropriate eye contact, inadequate volume, and unclear pronunciation.  I held my poem in front of my face, spoke very quietly, and slurred a few words.  I read one stanza that way.


Then I modeled using appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. I made a point to let students now that they didn't need to make eye contact with the audience every single minute.  They can read a line, look up, read another line, look up, and so on.I let students know that I'd be grading their performance by looking at those specific things.  I used a chart like the one to the right using check mark, check plus, and checks.  This part wasn't a huge part of their final grade, but it was a part.


The other part of speaking and listening is listening.  When one is listening to a speaker, like in a college lecture, job training, or conference, they're not going to behave like seventh grade teachers who say everything five thousand times, wait for everyone to write it down, and then say it another ten thousand times.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  It's important for students to to develop their listening skills to identify main ideas in a speaker who doesn't wait. Therefore, I directed students to use a chart like the one on the left to record main ideas or examples of lovely language while they listened to their peers' poems. 


Poetry Slam

30 minutes

I divided the class up into two groups.   One group went with me and the other group went with my student teacher.


I collected the best lines from the poems and put them together in a video.  Check out first hour's video here and fourth hour's video here.


Each student read their poem aloud while the others listened.  As they read, I made notes on their eye contact, volume and pronunciation.  When it wasn't their turn to read, the students made notes on main ideas or language.


When we were done, we stapled all of their work for this project together.  I collected their

  • annotated poems
  • quickwrites on main ideas, craft and structure, brainstorming
  • rough drafts
  • love notes
  • final draft
  • listening sheet (from today)


Lesson Resources

Today's lesson picture is a collection of the best lines from my students' poems.  Check out the two videos to see those pictures up close.