Fourth Grade Poetry Slam

Fourth graders shared their dreams for the world in a Poetry Slam as part of a Social Studies Lab project.
In fourth grade, much of the SEL(social-emotional learning) work involves helping students think about how they interact with others, with the world, and their social impact and responsibilities. As fourth graders feel a connectedness to others, they so often, in turn, feel empowered and confident in who they are themselves. The poetry slam project began by using Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech as inspiration. Students saw how Dr. King used the power of his words to fight for social justice and pondered their own dreams as they created free-verse dream poems. 

For more inspiration, they watched performances from many young slam poets around the world. Seeing these performers demonstrate such emotion in the delivery of their words, the fourth graders focused not only on content, but also on using literary devices such as repetition, rhyme, and vivid metaphor to help enhance their message. They found their voices through rhymes, like “the motion in the ocean is causing a commotion,” and mixing in metaphors, “Not a crumb of hesitation can stop our determination...” From racism to climate change, homelessness to gender inequalities, the topics that emerged on paper were thoughtful and powerful. 
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Burke’s

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