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Free Powerful Spoken Word Poetry Analysis Lesson

This free spoken word poetry analysis lesson is a fantastic way to introduce poetry to your students.

Over the month of April, which is National Poetry Month, I’ve been sharing cross-curricular teaching tips, video suggestions, and reasons for teaching spoken word poetry in the middle school classroom to help recognize and celebrate National Poetry Month. This week, I will give you a free spoken word poetry analysis lesson. 

If you missed the first two posts of this series, click on the links below:

What is National Poetry Month?

April is celebrated as National Poetry Month in the United States and Canada. It is a month to increase appreciation of the art form. Started by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, this is the perfect time to showcase poetry in your classroom.  

Many different poetry styles are available, but when you mention “poetry” to your students, they might think of more traditional poetry, like that of Shakespeare or Emily Bronte. While these poets are still necessary for students to learn, it’s important that they also explore different poetry genres that may be more relevant to their lives.

Spoken word poetry focuses on the play of words, rhyme, improvisation, and repetition. It’s a very popular form of poetry nowadays and is more performance than traditional poetry. 

How can I celebrate National Poetry Month in the classroom?

Even if you want to celebrate National Poetry Month through poetry units or activities such as the Ode to Our Ocean spoken word poetry analysis lesson, there are still many great ways you can recognize the month with your students. 

Below are some fun, engaging, and meaningful ways to celebrate this event in the classroom: 

  1. Poem-a-Day Challenge
    Provide your students with daily prompts or themes to inspire their creativity to write a poem a day in April. This challenge not only helps students develop a habit of writing but also allows them to explore their creativity, self-expression, and imagination. You can also find daily poems on Poets.Org or Poetry Foundation.
  2. Poetry Read-Aloud Sessions & Performances
    Spoken word poetry goes hand in hand with this one. Students can take turns reading poems they’ve written or even their favourite poems. Since oral communication is a necessary skill, you can have them continue to develop it while exposing them to various poetic styles and voices. Spoken word poetry is a fantastic and powerful medium for self-expression and an empowering and impactful way for students to share their thoughts, experiences, and emotions. You could also host a poetry slam competition at your school, inviting students from other classrooms to participate. This will encourage creativity, help students gain confidence, and create community among students.
  3. Poetry Analysis
    You can analyze classic and contemporary poems with your students through engaging poetry units. Students can learn about poetic devices such as similes, metaphors, imagery, and symbolism. Go beyond this, discuss the themes and emotions, and encourage students to express their interpretations and perspectives.
  4. Visit From Local Poets
    You may surprised to know that many communities have local poets. Invite a local poet or spoken word artist to visit your classroom and share their work with your students. This is a way to inspire students and give them an insight into the world of poetry.
  5. Poetry in Other Subjects
    You can integrate poetry into other subject areas, such as history, art, and ethics. But did you know you can also combine poetry with science or math? Students can write scientific poems about natural phenomena or mathematical poems that explore mathematical concepts and patterns.
  6. Create a Poetry Corner
    Students love seeing displays of their work. A great way to do this during National Poetry Month is by designating a corner of your classroom as a “Poetry Corner,” where students can display their favourite poems, poems they’ve written, poetry collages, or even as a place for quiet reading and reflection. This space can serve as a place for students to appreciate and experience poetry outside of lessons.

When we celebrate and recognize events such as National Poetry Month, we not only expose students to different types of poems and poets, but it’s also a great way to help students develop essential skills such as creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. 

This spoken word poetry analysis lesson focuses on ‘Ode to Our Ocean,’ a spoken word poem by Amanda Gorman. Students will watch the poetry performed alongside visuals and music and see how poetry can be relevant in the modern world. 

Bonus? This lesson is completely FREE! 

Free Powerful Spoken Word Poetry Analysis Lesson

This free spoken word poetry analysis lesson is a fantastic way to introduce poetry to your students.

Picking the right poems to appeal to your students can be intimidating. We want to stay relevant to our students and help them improve their academic success and engagement with our teaching materials. 

The beauty of poetry is that it’s such a wide and diverse genre, so it offers a unique opportunity to stay relevant to your students because it provides so much choice in poem selection. 

This free resource uses Amanda Gorman’s “Ode To Our Ocean” to lead students through listening to, reacting to, analyzing, and reflecting on a powerful spoken word poetry piece. 

While completing this Spoken Word Poetry Analysis lesson, students will be introduced to spoken word poetry and listen to a reading of “Ode To Our Ocean,” accompanied by a visual presentation by poet Amanda Gorman. They will then react to and analyze the poem.  

This spoken word poetry analysis lesson has components done as a class and ones that can be done individually or in small groups. It has everything you need to teach the lesson without doing prep work. 

This resource includes:

  • Detailed Teacher Directions
  • All Necessary Links to Video Components
  • A Spoken Word Analysis Worksheet and Answer Key
  • A Google Slides Version of This Resource for Digital Classrooms

“Ode To Our Ocean” by Amanda Gorman is a powerful spoken word poetry performance.  Please remember that to watch the video portion of this activity successfully, you will need reliable Internet access and a way for students to view videos from the Internet.  

Don’t let poetry selection intimidate you – check out my free Spoken Word Poetry Analysis lesson today!

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