Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Poetry Slam

Right now we are three weeks away from being in the midst of our Region 4 Poetry Slam. This is definitely one of the most fun, innovative way of utilizing videoconferencing with our students. I first learned about this program by attending a Poetry Slam in Region 1 in the Bronx NYC. I went to the Bronx Region 1 Office not knowing what I was in for. What I saw literally blew me away. Or should I say knocked my socks off. Student teams were competing with other schools by performing their original poems over videoconferencing. What struck me first was the quality of the poems. The students wrote on a variety of themes, some funny, some poignant, some chilling but all great poetry. What struck me next was the fact that these kids were excited about poetry. You don't see that often. Especially as the students get older. I was hooked. Lucky for me the Bronx Region were reaching out to another Region that wanted to start a Poetry Slam. They agreed to be our mentor. The art residency, DreamYard, sent two wonderful poets of theirs into our 4 participating school. This poetry residency in itself is enough. Student's writing poetry while learning about all kinds of poetry. Working on their poems by through revision. And then the performance part. Making that poem come alive through expression and movement. Of course I was most drawn to the videoconferencing component. What a novel idea a student poetry competition with other schools and no one having to leave their building. Besides this logistics miracle there is also the media itself enhancing and infusing the performances. In the next few weeks I will write more about preparing for slam as we get closer to the big event.

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