SlideShare presentation by Laura Isaza (Semester 1, 2014)
Prezi by Juan Manuel Estrada (Semester 1, 2014)
Prezi by Tyrone Steven Orrego (Semester 2, 2014)
Prezi by Sara Uribe (Semester 2, 2014)
Video by María Alejandra Gómez (Semester 2, 2014)
Video by Tatiana Salazar (Semester 2, 2014)
Some samples from the pros
Slam Poetry legend Saul Williams - Coded Language
Asian-American slam poet Beau Sia - Give Me a Chance
Legendary African-American poet Nikki Giovanni - Talk to Me, Poem, I Think I've Got the Blues
Recording artist Kanye West - Self Conscious
Asian-American artist and activist Rachel Rostad - To JK Rowling, from Cho Chang
My forays into Slam Poetry in my classrooms
I learned about slam poetry, just like I learned so many other things as an educator, when I was a doctoral student at my beloved alma mater, the University of Illinois. If my memory doesn't fail me, I think it was my mentor and final adviser, Prof. Willis, who showed me What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali. I fell in love with the genre right then! So much so that I actually used to show that poem to all my undergrads in my classes at the end of the term!
When I came back to Colombia, I thought this would be a great idea to implement in my classes. My first attempt took place in 2011, when I was teaching a conversation class. The capstone project for this course was to compose and perform a slam poem. We ended the course holding a slam poetry festival, where all students had the chance to perform and share very intimate, up close and personal moments through their poems. I will share some highlights from this session in the slideshow below:
Despite the initial success of this activity, I hadn't had another chance to elaborate on it... until 2014. In this first semester, I am teaching the course "Communicative Competence V". A transition course as a result of the curricular transformation at the School of Education and Pedagogy, this course afforded me a golden chance to bring back slam poetry.
This time, instead of the live performance, I decided to have the students record their poems. They had multiple chances, including performing live, reading the poem (à la Saul Williams), or using video editors to play the text. The one thing that was non-negotiable, however, was the spoken performance. They all had to speak!
I will say no more, as I think that once you hear the slam poems in this YouTube playlist, you'll be amazed as I was when I heard them.
After two exercises in using slam poetry, all I can say is: It's totally worth it! I'm sure I'll keep finding ways to replicate this as long as I'm working with preservice teachers. If you want to know more about this experience, just contact me!