"The Art of the Poetry Slam"
What's a slam?
A poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. Established to stimulate public
audiences to participate in poetry readings, the 'slam' has evolved into an international art form highlighting
both audience involvement and poetic excellence.
Combining Performance Poetry with Technology:
In a 'techno twist' on the traditional poet-audience-in-the-coffee shop theme, this particular slam featured our
students in MS 391 competing with students from MS 95, also in District Ten located several miles away via teleconferencing. Each school is equipped with teleconferencing equipment which
involves a high speed Internet line that sends the video and audio signals to each of the similarly equipped locations
via remote controlled cameras and wireless microphones. Students and their classmates appear on a three-way split
screen: one side of the TV monitor shows the competition, and the other side in another location across town, the
judges evaluate the student performances. The individual performer is seen on the lower right of the screen.
Display on the teleconferencing
monitor. Each school sees similar
Innovation Creates Interest in the Classroom:
If it all sounds high tech, it is! District Technology Director Maria Fico is actively involved
in coordinating the poetry slams in conjunction with Geri Hayes, the Cultural Arts Director for District Ten.
Always seeking innovative ways in which to link students using this technology, benefits of teleconferencing
- The time factor: not having to spend more than the allotted class time traveling from place
- Allows for many groups to congregate with minimum time commitment
- Gives students greater access to experts
Also partnering in this effort is Dreamyard,
an arts organization in one of many of their arts related collaborations with our district's schools. Dreamyard
really understands the culture and pedagogical philosopy of the schools in our community and has woven the arts
into the fabric of the schools they work with. Fordham University's RETC (Regional Educational Technology Center) provides technology assistance.
Competition Just For the Fun of It
According to the students participating, 'Slam' performance poetry is so
much fun to compete in. Students felt challenged, and though this group was disappointed
with the outcome (their school group lost by three points!), all felt excited enough to want to write and perform
poetry in the future. Their disappointment allowed for a group discussion surrounding fairness, teamwork and the
belief that improvement was necessary in their future efforts...
Take a look at this video clip in which students speak
about their experience.
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To create an awareness of the ever-growing impact of media, our program focuses on media
literacy and production. Students create TV commercials, public service announcements, news programs, documentaries,
and other projects which encourage them to think, plan, research, and write. These same projects are also used
to develop a critical sense of how media impact us in our daily lives.
Our beautiful new facilities at the District 10 Media Center feature a state-of-the art television studio complete
with digital editing and student computer workstations. By using these emerging digital tools, our students will
gain the technology skills necessary to find and use information, solve problems, communicate with others, and
meet a growing demand for these skills in their future.
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