Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slam Slice

Youth poets from our last open mic session at the book store.
It's 2:35 p.m. and I'm hustling back to my double-wide classroom. It is surprisingly hot for March: 91 degrees. I spent the bulk of my last-period of the day planning period running to Walmart to buy a gallon of white paint, a quart of black and a dozen colors of spray paint. We're 9 days out from our school poetry slam and we need create our backgrounds.

I have been coaching  youth poets for 14 years. This year, our 16 poets have prepared 2-3 poems for the slam. We have met to write, share and perform our work every Tuesday after school since September. My poets are quick to remind me that I have missed two Tuesdays. Once in September because my son needed stitches after a playground accident and a second time in January because I  broke my arm and had to get the cast. Student poets' get serious about attendance in the weeks leading up to the slam.

Here's what I'm working on this month and into next as my school is also hosting a multi-school slam in May.

Final Month Logistics:

  • create set/backgrounds
  • finalize in-school field trip paperwork
  • invite community members, school board members, district personnel, feeder school principals
  • student permission slips
  • arrange for lunch the day of the slam (pizza or subs)
  • plan team building activities for mid-day break
  • charge cameras
  • plan for live stream
  • rehearse
  • set up stage 
  • invite teachers to bring classes to performances
  • track teacher sign-ups via Excel file (cap audience at 800)
  • create seating chart for the auditorium
  • create slam program
  • create youth poets chap book
  • create slam book marks (mini-program with multi-school May slam date promotion)
  • create/plan to announce Open mic summer nights at local Barnes and Noble


  1. This is awesome. I would love to more about how you got this going.

  2. Wow-I am so impressed. I've had a slam for my class, inviting other 'older' students to it. I taught middle school aged kids LeeAnn, so didn't have those awesome high schoolers. I am excited to hear you're doing this-poetry is so cool. Tell the students to have a terrific time-which from what you've said about their enthusiasm, I guess they will!

  3. Awesome...keep the list and delegate to those who can help!