I begin class by checking to see that all students have completed the Poem Writing Tic-Tac-Toe Project Sheet task, and have their three typed poems to submit. As I do so, I am selecting and taking a specific note on which poem I want the student to perform for the Poetry Slam. I do this quickly as I want the students to have time to practice and prepare for the performance. This process began in the previous lesson, but concludes today. (For more explanation of my process and what I look for see: Poetry Selection)
Once I get through the entire classroom, I make the announcement of my list. Once each student knows what he or she will be reading, I have them turn the other two poems in by stapling them and placing them in the assignment tray for their class period.
I conclude by passing out the Poetry Slam SL Rubric handout and talking them through it briefly. As the students pair up (or get into groups of 3, max), they are expected to use this rubric to provide feedback related specifically to the Speaking and Listening portion of the presentation. I have reviewed the poems, so I made sure only to include those that would be adequate representations of the standards we have in our classroom, so I now expect the students to consider the presentation values. I encourage the kids to be create and think about how some words and phrases stand out. I also encourage them to consider pacing as well.
The remainder of the class period is reserved for practice. I want the students to feel confident and well prepared prior to having to get up in front of their peers and sharing their poems, which are often very personal to them. I ask them to follow a formal process, where they receive constructive feedback in the form of a plus/delta from at least 3 peers. Each peer should perform a reading for one another, give at least one plus (celebration) and one delta (opportunity for improvement, refinement). At the conclusion of class, students are expected to turn in the sheet used to compile the plus/delta. I do not grade the form, but collect it to ensure accountability.
As the students are performing for one another, I also provide feedback for them. Since I know the poems they are presenting, I seek out certain students with specific feedback in order to make their readings more engaging and entertaining for the audience. Poetry can be really dry if we let it, so I make sure to help the students prepare in a way that will keep it engaging.