I am introducing performance poetry to my students this week. My plan is to give them a taste of an example and then move into two-voice poems.
I will introduce them to Shane Koyczan by showing them the first six and a half minutes of this, and then I’ll hand out poems I’ve photocopied from a wonderful book by Paul Fleischman called Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. Because I want this to be an intro (and because I have limited time) I will give some of the shorter poems to some pairs but most I will give to groups of four and ask them to switch paired readers halfway through.
They will have the end of this first period and the beginning of our next to read through and practice their poems. We will read them out to each other at the end of the second period…. unless they really want more time, then I might push it to next week and give them an extra period. If I do give them more time I will likely do a second mini-lesson on performance speaking so that they have the tools to work with over the longer time-frame.
p.s. I found it harder than anticipated to find good, not too long, examples of performance or slam poetry that was acceptable and/ or engaging for an elementary audience. If you know of a good source, please share!