There's no doubt that when taught well, poetry can get kids excited about reading, writing, performing, and finding their voice. As we approach the beginning of April, which is National Poetry Month, I've put together a selection of videos about the power of poetry for young people -- both in the classroom and beyond.
Video Playlist: Celebrate Poetry Month!
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- Poetry Open Mic (5:38)
An elementary teacher builds community and covers core language arts standards by holding weekly open mics in her classroom. Students recite a poem of their choosing, which builds both oral speaking and reading comprehension skills.
- Louder Than a Bomb (2:21)
This moving documentary trailer follows four teams of young people in Chicago as they prepare to compete in the world's largest youth poetry slam, Louder Than a Bomb. You can rent the full movie on YouTube here.
- 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, accompanied by animated videos of five of his poems. (Be sure also to watch this cute viral gem, featuring a serious boy with an aptitude for memorizing Collins' poems.)
- The Poetry Friendly Classroom: Teachers on Writing (3:03)
This video is part of a full series of short videos by Booktrust in the UK, with great tips for teachers on encouraging children to love writing poetry.
- The Power of Poetry (3:31)
In this talk show clip, 3 teen girls from the group Get Lit Players talk to Queen Latifah about how poetry changed their lives for the better. Watch the girls' full performance of their moving poem "Somewhere in America" here (be aware, the poem does touch on some explicit content).
- Words on Fire: Fire Island Wilderness Poetry Slam (7:00)
In this mesmerizing video, 3 young poets from New York City visit the Fire Island National Seashore, composing poems inspired by the serenity and beauty of nature.
- Poetry Out Loud, In Their Own Words (4:51)
The National Endowment for the Arts' Poetry Out Loud program is a national recitation contest that starts in the classrooom and ends in Washington, D.C.
- Poetry Workstations (4:38)
Great lesson plan alert! Teams of kids analyze "poetry in motion" videos, then blog and podcast their reflections. Technology + literacy = win!
- TEDxNYED Global Writes (13:42)
This incredible organization uses technology to connect students in urban schools to compete in slams with students in other cities.
- Produce a Poetry Slam For Your High School (10:02)
Ready to put on a poetry slam in your own school? Start here, as a writing teacher takes you step-by-step through the process of producing your own slam.
More Ways to Celebrate Poetry Month
Whether you feel like a seasoned beat poet, or are just dipping your toes into the world of poetry reading and performance, there are many ways to bring poetry into the classroom. 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.