Friday, June 15, 2007
Poetry Slam 2007
For the past three years I have been involved with poetry slams through videoconferencing. I have blogged about Poetry Slam in the past. This year I was fortunate to win a NYS Learning Technology Grant and continue the Poetry Slam program . In the past I had 8 different schools compete via videoconferencing in poetry slam competitions. This year was a little different. The grant I wrote was for only 3 schools. Six of the eight poetry slam classes were in the middle school where I work. The other two classes were in a neighboring middle school and in a non public Catholic School. The poets have been going to these 3 schools for the past ten weeks teaching poetry writing and performance to sixth graders. Yesterday we had a live slam in my school and the top scoring class went on today to slam with their non public partners virtually. Since the Catholic school had only recently received their videoconferencing equipment I decided to go to the school to help facilitate the poetry slam. There was also a judging site in yesterday's competition. That was a middle school in the Bronx. It was in the Bronx where using videoconferencing as a way to bridge geographic distances and scheduling logistics first began. Now this program has grown nationally to a new organization called GLOBALWRITeS.
The students at the Catholic school started their day in a prayer circle. They prayed for our world and even prayed a little for their poetry slam. Then the slam began. The student's poetry and performances were great. There will be a poetry anthology of all the poems as part of the grant. Some of them will also be posted at the GLOBALWRITeS website. Interestingly, the class from my middle school was a bridge class. This means that all of them are English Language Learners (ELL). The fact that they placed first in their school slam and now in the inter-school slam is quite an impressive accomplishment. The other nice thing is that as part of the grant classses will continue their participation in Poetry Slam through 7th and 8th grades. Imagine three years of poetry writing and performing. There will be classes of future poet laureates!!!