Slam Poetry Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christine Jarus

Christine has over twenty years of experience in education. She is certified in learning disabilities, behavior disorders, elementary education and high school communication arts. She also holds a principal certification and has obtained a doctorate degree in educational leadership.

Students love emotionally-charged music and often rant to their friends. Slam poetry introduces students to a specific form of poetry that allows them to express themselves in a poetic performance.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the origin and history of slam poetry
  • identify the specific components of a slam poem
  • write and perform their own slam poem


2-3 hours


  • paper and pencils
  • copies of the lesson
  • copies of the quiz
  • video screen and laptop to show video
  • video of a slam poem performance
  • newspaper articles about current events

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).


Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.


Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


  • Slam Poetry: Poetry that lacks the traditional elements. A slam poem topic is something the author is passionate about and is usually performed instead of written and read.
  • Negritude Movement: A movement started by black French-speaking poets that focused on experiences of discrimination and oppression.
  • Rhyme: The repetition of similar sounds, typically in the last word of each line of a poem.
  • Stanza: A group of lines in a poem.
  • Poetry Slam: A venue where people perform their slam poetry.


  • Ask students the question: What are you passionate about? Ask students to take a few minutes to independently brainstorm their answer(s) to this question.
  • Explain to students that slam poetry is a form of poetry that allows the author to rant about a topic passionate to him or her.
  • Distribute the Slam Poetry: Definition & Examples lesson, and ask students to read the 'Free Form Poetry' section. Discuss the material and review the definitions for slam poetry and Negritude movement.
  • Find a video online of a slam poetry performance, and show it to the class. Ask students to share with a partner their observations about the poetry performance. After their discussion, ask the students to share their observations with the class.
  • Ask students to read the 'Defining Features' and 'Performance Art' sections in the lesson. Review the definitions for rhyme, stanza, and poetry slam. Discuss the material with the class as it relates to the sample slam poem from the video.
  • Read the 'Examples' section in the lesson aloud with the class. After reading both examples, discuss with the class the rhyming structure of the slam poem (or its lack of rhyming structure).
  • Ask students to read the 'Summary' section independently.
  • Provide students a paper copy of the Slam Poetry quiz. Ask students to complete the quiz and turn it in.
  • Use this quiz as a formative assessment. Review the student responses as they turn them in to determine the students' understanding level. If several students have missed a specific question, reteach the material before moving on to the activity.

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