Slammin’ Poetry


accelerator membership

Ask students to write down and discuss the elements they think are required for poetry.

View the video of Gayle Danley performing as international slam poetry champion. After viewing, write and discuss the qualities that were a part of Danley’s poetry performance. Compare that to the original list students wrote down. Were they surprised or were their thoughts confirmed?

Lesson Process:

Step 1:  Explore the genre of Slam Poetry. Most slam poets use alliteration, assonance, repetition, onomatopoeia and rhyme to establish rhythm in their spoken word. Review each of these terms with students and offer examples as needed. Revisit Gayle Danley’s poem about her notebook. How does Danley use these elements in her work?

Step 2: View the Ted-Ed Lesson “Become a Slam Poet in 5 Steps”. Provide a topic for students and allow them to go through each of the 5 steps to create their own poem.

Step 3:  Review the elements of drama with students, and focus specifically on energy and action. How did Danley use these elements in her performance about the notebook?

Step 4:  Students must consider energy and action elements and decide how they will use these in the performance of their own poem.

Time Required:
30-45 minutes

Materials List:

  • Gayle Danley performance
  • Become a Slam Poet in 5 Minutes Video
  • Elements of Drama poster
  • Computer,
  • Speakers, Internet, and Projector
  • Paper and pencils


Create a class poetry slam. Each student will stand and perform their piece of poetry. The class audience will act as the judge. The more applause and audience engagement, the higher the score (this is how most poetry slam competitions are held). Teachers should be listening for both the use of language elements and theater elements in the performance.