Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Activity 1: You And The Poetry Slam, Part Ii

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Books and handouts of poetry that participants either have used in previous program workshops or may peruse today for inclusion in the Poetry Slam
  • Paper and pencils or computer and printer for writing during the workshop
  • Newsprint and markers

Preparation for Activity

  • Be ready to remind participants of the date, time, and place for the Poetry Slam.
  • Post the documentation from Workshop 12, Activity 3: You and the Poetry Slam, in which participants began to generate ideas.
  • Write the roles on newsprint, leaving room to fill in names of volunteers. Roles may include:
    • Event program
    • Publicity
    • Room set-up
    • Audio-visual equipment and tasks
    • Optional: Fund-raiser planning
    • Tickets/usher
    • Reader/performers
    • Emcee
    • Room cleanup
    • Thank-you notes
    • Optional: Fund-raising wrap-up

Description of Activity

Participants build upon the plans for the Poetry Slam that they started in the previous workshop.

Explain that today's process will include (a) firming up plans begun in the last workshop and (b) working in small groups to complete the planning process. By the end of today's workshop, most participants will have an assignment to complete before the event, such as practicing his/her own performance of poetry, getting audio/visual equipment and making sure it functions properly, or creating and photocopying the event program.

Remind participants of the date, time, and place for the event. Ask participants to commit to attending. If some participants cannot attend the event, encourage them to help with today's planning nonetheless and consider providing a poem for another participant to read aloud.

Begin to shape the event with a maximum of five minutes' brainstorming. To get things started, refer to the newsprint on which participants' suggestions from Workshop 12 are listed. To stimulate more discussion, ask the group these new questions:

  • Should we invite young children?
  • Should everyone sit in a circle or should readers be on a stage?
  • Do we want to include music?
  • Do we want to videotape the event?
  • Do we want to ask the audience for feedback? If so, should we ask for it at the end of the event? In a guest book we provide at the event?
  • Do we need an intermission?

Discuss the need to use microphones for the performance (see Including All Participants, below, for more information). Let the group know that they will have time to practice with the microphone on the day of the performance. Are cordless microphones available? This will affect your decision concerning how to seat performers.

Lead a discussion to assign roles and responsibilities. Have a volunteer document the roles and responsibilities on the easel or chalkboard, using the list of roles you prepared earlier. Ask the following questions if roles are unfilled from Workshop 12:

  • Who would like to read or perform a poem? Will you use your own poem or one by someone else?
  • Who would like to provide a poem for someone else to read or perform?
  • Who would like to be an emcee?
  • Can anyone come early to help set up the space? Can anyone stay after the event to help clean up the space?

Draft the order in which people will read/perform.

Including All Participants

If possible, use a microphone for the performance. Explain to participants that this is important because sometimes it is difficult for those with hearing impairments to speak up and ask for amplification. By providing a microphone without being asked, you avoid putting people in an uncomfortable position. This is one way to be an ally to differently-abled people. In addition, see if your congregation has assisted listening devices for the hearing impaired, noting that these only work when a sound system is used.