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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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For some people, the thought of poetry makes their blood pump faster with passion, while for others, it conjures up stereotypes of disaffected beat writers. But there's no doubt that when taught well, poetry can get kids excited about reading, writing, performing, and finding their voice. As we near the end of April, National Poetry Month, I've put together a selection of videos about the power of poetry for young people -- in the classroom and beyond.

Video Playlist: Poetry Month

Keep watching the player below to see the entire playlist, or view this playlist on YouTube.

  1. Poetry Open Mic (05:38)

    An elementary teacher builds community and covers core language arts standards by holding weekly open mics in her classroom.

  2. Louder Than a Bomb (03:27)

    Moving trailer for a documentary about four teams of young people in Chicago preparing to compete in the world's largest youth poetry slam.

  3. Billy Collins: Everyday moments, caught in time (15:14)

    Two-time poet laureate of the United States Billy Collins gives us our "recommended dietary allowance" of poetry, including animated videos of five of his poems.

  4. 3-year-old recites poem, "Litany" by Billy Collins (02:00)

    I couldn't resist this viral gem, featuring a serious little boy who clearly has an aptitude for memorization and an enviable flair for drama.

  5. The Poetry Friendly Classroom: Teachers on Writing (03:04)

    One in a full series of short videos by Booktrust in the UK, with great tips for teachers on encouraging children to love writing poetry.

  6. Poetry Out Loud, In Their Own Words (04:52)

    The National Endowment for the Arts' Poetry Out Loud program is a national recitation contest that starts in the classrooom and ends up in DC.

  7. TEDxNYED - Global Writes (13:43)

    This incredible organization uses technology to connect students in urban schools to compete in slams with students in other cities.

  8. Poetry Workstations (04:38)

    Great lesson plan alert! Teams of kids analyze "poetry in motion" videos, then blog and podcast their reflections. Technology + literacy = win!

  9. A Terrible Thing to Waste (01:58)

    A student's powerful poem about how critical it is to teach to the heart as well as the head. Caution: Some language and content is intense.

  10. Produce a Poetry Slam For Your High School (10:02)

    Ready to put on a poetry slam in your own school? Start here. A writing teacher takes you step-by-step through how to produce your own slam.

More Ways to Celebrate Poetry Month

Visit the landing page for educators on the National Poetry Month website for lesson plan ideas and resources. Organizations like Read Write Think and Reading Rockets offer guidelines and curriculum for teachers as well. Ready to get your kids up on stage? Check out national organizations like Youth Speaks, Global Writes, and Poetry Out Loud for ideas, or do some research to find a local organization near your school.

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