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Integrating Spoken Word Poetry Across Multiple Subjects

Learn how to integrate spoken word poetry across multiple subject areas.

While there has been a lot of emphasis on using spoken word poetry in the ELA classroom with this spoken word poetry series, it is important to know that this is also a poetry form with cross-curricular connections. 

In this article, I will review the cross-curricular connections of spoken word poetry and highlight some videos for grades 6-8 that perfectly accompany your teaching of spoken word poetry. 

Cross-curricular connections involving spoken word poetry can be rich and varied, offering opportunities to explore multiple subjects and disciplines simultaneously. Let’s explore some examples. 

Integrating Spoken Word Poetry Across Multiple Subjects

Social Studies & History

Many spoken word poems address historical events, social justice issues, and cultural identities. Teachers can use these poems to discuss history, politics, and society. 

For example, a poem like Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” can lead to discussions about democracy, civic engagement, and the role of poetry in public discourse.

Read: 13 Ways To Make History Class Engaging For Students

Social Justice & Ethics

Spoken word poetry often tackles social justice, equity, and human rights themes. Teachers can use these poems to facilitate discussions about ethics, empathy, and activism. 

Students can explore how spoken word poets use their art to raise awareness about racism, gender inequality, and environmental justice, inspiring them to become informed and engaged citizens.

Read: The Importance of Self-Reflection When Teaching Social Justice Topics

Performing Arts & Drama

Spoken word poetry blurs the lines between literature and performance, making it a natural fit for drama and performing arts classes. Students can explore performance elements, such as voice, gesture, and stage presence, to enhance their spoken word performances. 

They can also collaborate on group performances, experimenting with ensemble work and creative staging.

Read: How To Incorporate Oral Presentations Into Your ELA Program and Creative Ideas For Teaching Drama Lessons.


Creative Writing & Poetry Workshops

Spoken word poetry workshops can be creative outlets for students to explore their voices and experiences. Teachers can lead writing exercises and prompts inspired by the themes and styles of the poems studied in class, encouraging students to develop their poetic voices. 

Students can also share and perform their work in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Read: Why Teach Middle School Creative Writing? and When To Use Creative Writing Activities.

Media Literacy & Visual Arts 

In addition to the spoken word performances, students can explore the visual elements of spoken word poetry videos. Teachers can discuss how camera angles, lighting, and editing techniques contribute to the overall impact of the videos. 

Students can also create multimedia spoken word projects, incorporating visual imagery, music, and sound effects to enhance their messages. Keep reading for some spoken word poetry videos you can use in your poetry units. 

Read: Engaging and Fun Media Literacy Lessons for Middle School Students

By integrating spoken word poetry into these various subject areas, educators can provide students with interdisciplinary learning experiences that are engaging, meaningful, and relevant to their lives.

Spoken Word Poetry Videos to Use in Your Middle School Classroom 

The great thing about living in the digital age is that examples of anything we want are available online anytime – including videos of spoken word poetry performances. Here are some grade-specific videos you can check out with your class. 

6th Grade 

  • “Ode To Bacon” by Nick Offerman
  • “Miracle Worker” by Taylor Mali
  • “Brother” by Sarah Kay 

7th Grade 

  •  “Knock Knock” by Daniel Beaty.
  •  “What Teachers Make” – Taylor Mali
  •  “I Sued The School System” by Prince EA 

8th Grade 

  • “I Quit” By Prince EA
  • “When Love Arrives” by Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye 
  •   “Times I’ve Been Mistaken for a Girl” by Alex Dang 


Comprehensive Middle School Poetry Units

All 2 Peas and a Dog poetry units have the following lessons: 

➡️ What is Poetry? Lesson
➡️ What is Topic and Theme? Lesson
➡️ Figurative Language Lesson
➡️ Poetry Analysis
➡️ Spoken Word Analysis
➡️ Song Lyric Analysis
➡️ Poetry Creation
➡️ Poetry Showcase

While the core lessons are the same, the poems for the lessons and some of the poetry forms differ. 

When you’ve finished your poetry unit, you can dive into the Poetry Digital Escape Room, where students work independently or with their peers to solve ten poetry-themed challenges. You can get the Poetry Digital Escape Room on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

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