Teaching outside the box, the ninth and tenth grade English classes at Uplift Summit combined the traditional poetry found in typical high school curriculum with Slam Poetry, a mix between reciting poetry and hip-hop.
During the unit, scholars watched well-known Slam Poets like Maya Del-Valle, Shane Koyczan and Taylor Mali.
“The scholars were engaged from the very beginning of the lesson when they heard a voice and material of someone they could relate to” said High School Director Karen Evans after watching a daily lesson incorporating slam poetry.
After two weeks of analyzing poetry , freshmen scholars had the opportunity to share their own work in class performances. Scholars performed original pieces such as “Gang Time”, “Thank You, Mom” and “Slowly Finding Myself”. Many scholars said they felt this was the first time they’ve been able to truly express themselves in class, and the results were very touching.
“Our whole class was in tears” said ninth-grade teacher Britney Fletcher reflecting after one class of scholar performances.
Sophomore scholars decided to host a campus poetry slam and have twenty-six pieces lined up. Many of the scholars chose to write about social justice. Pieces like “Nothing Lasts Forever, Right”, a piece written by a scholar grappling with her dad’s deportation, and “Thank You Jesus, Gracias, Jesus” question immigration laws and current reforms. Another sophomore scholar wrote a poem called “Ruled by Society” in which he calls for action for people to take notice of the world around them. Finally, a junior scholar wrote a poem called “My Mango Story” where she reflects on her life back in El Salvador.
These pieces and others will be performed on Thursday, Dec. 12 at Uplift Summit at 6:30pm. The event will serve as a fundraiser for a sophomore who recently lost his home in a fire.