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Student article: Open mic poetry grade 5

“The Earth is like a good force trying to give us materials but when we get too greedy the Earth won't help us anymore even when we’re needy. Climate change is damaging a range of animals and environments.” expressed Brandon in the beginning lines of his Spoken Word performance this Tuesday.

This month in Fifth Grade we have been working on creating and presenting a style of poetry known as Spoken Word. Spoken word is a style of poetry where someone conveys a message through a poem which uses methods like rhyming to create a beat and to actively engage the audience. Spoken word is different from normal poetry because it needs to be presented live, in that manner it is quite similar to rap.

The first step we took to create our poems was to look at, and break-up a few spoken word performances. One performance we looked at was called If I should have a daughter written and performed Sarah Kay in her TED Talk. We broke up the poem and tried to find the meaning. In one line she says “remember, your momma is a worrier, and your poppa is a warrior” our class concluded that she was displaying stereotypes in people’s brains by using a-play-on-words.

The second step we took to create our poems was to understand and explore techniques to create a spoken word poem. Our teacher explained to us what similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and personification were and explained the importance of line breaks. Line breaks are when someone changes to the next line and usually takes a breath, for example

“ One down two to go.
Fossil fuels are efficient but is it gold?
I see coal which is undersold.
Are we in a blindfold?”

A very familiar technique many of us used to create a beat is rhyming. As you can see in the example above gold, undersold, and blindfold rhyme because of the last syllable -old.

The next step we took to create our spoken word poems was filling out our graphic organizers. The organizers helped us to use the strategies we learned from the teacher into our poem’s context. We started to put our thoughts together and got ready to write the final piece.

The final step we took was to complete our poem. We typed the poem up on a document, and we shared it with the rest of our class, in a poetry-slam. Each student’s poem was unique, ranging from topics such as climate change, anti-semitism, gender equality, etc. We all went up to the stage and performed our pieces. At the end, we all were content and our hard work paid off. We each got complimented from our peers and called each other rappers .

“We fought for our lives but got stabbed with knives. But we survived and we thrived. We got way stronger and now we won't go down without a fight” finished Seth as his poem came to an end.

This article was written by 5th grade student Neel Dalela