Introduction to the Poetry Unit
Expose students to nontraditional poetry!
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Increase the enjoyment of poetry by becoming aware of poetry's fun and flexibility.
- Be exposed to the format of a Poetry Slam
- Hear several examples of unexpected poetry
- SlamNation documentary
- Hey You! C'mere: A Poetry Slam by Elizabeth Swados
- Slam poetry videos on YouTube (Taylor Mali's videos are a great place to start)
- Other possible selections are suggested in the list of Books for Teaching Poetry Slams and More
- Optional: DVD player and TV or laptop and projector for viewing videos
- Optional: Paper and pencils for student responses
Set Up and Prepare
- Preview the chosen introductory material and select specific scenes or poems.
- Set up the DVD player or projector if necessary.
- Decide how students will participate. Will students answer with verbal discussions? Would you rather have students write out their answers?
- Decide on class participation questions for each selected scene or poem. For example: Be ready to tell me what the poet says a hair cut is like. What mental picture is being presented?
Step 1: Ask students if they have ever experienced or participated in slam or spoken poetry. If students have, ask them to briefly talk about their experiences.
Step 2: Show or read the selected material. Discuss it with the class using the specific questions you prepared earlier. Encourage students to move beyond the questions in their conversations, but remain on topic.
Observe student engagement and participation in the discussion.
- Did students enjoy the session?
- Which selection did students respond to the most?
- How can you build on that response in the coming lessons?