Slam Poetry: Power Through Performance (4 of 5)

Lesson Title: Slam Poetry: Power Through Performance (4 of 5)
Content Creator: Mr. Michael Dzbenski
Level: High School
Duration: 25-35 min
  /  Slam Poetry: Power Through Performance (4 of 5)


  • Students will identify effective slam poetry performance techniques.
  • Students will plan their performance of their slam poems.
  • Students will speak and write about their observations about effective slam poetry performance in a language of their choice.
  • Students will mark their poems for performance plans.


In this lesson, students will decide how to perform their poem for maximum effect. They will also mark their poems for beats, pace, volume, hand gestures, body language, and other performance devices.


  1. Review Class Objectives
  2. What makes a powerful performance? What actors have you seen that had a particularly powerful performance? What makes a performance 'powerful'.
  3. How to perform a poem for Maximum Effect!
    1. Pace (speed)
    2. Volume (loud/soft)
    3. Hand Gestures
    4. Body Language
    5. Facial Expressions
    6. Other (Caesura)
  4. Let's Try Some
    1. Poetic Reading
    2. Change it up
    3. How does the meaning change when you add/subtract
  5. Beats in poetry
    1. Natural Rhythm
    2. Meter
    3. Rhyme
    4. Rhythm
    5. Syllable Count
  6. Watch-time
    1. Body Language
    2. 360 Poetry
  7. Work Time
  8. Share-time
    1. Choose a line of two to 'play' with
    2. Change it to the complete opposite and see what changed
  9. Wrap-up

Demonstratives & Media

Classroom Space
Literary Salon
Virtual Field Trips & Lab Demonstrations
Instructional Videos
3D objects

Suggested Ancillary Support

Beats within poetry represent the rhythm, sound, meter and rhyme of the entire piece of poetry. There are many different types of beats the poet can use as well as different types of meters used to write poetry. Rhyme, rhythm, meters and sound are all related to poetic units or poetic beats. Caesura in poetry marks a pause from the natural rhythm. A caesura in poetry is a rhythmical pause that often occurs in the middle of a line, but also sometimes at the beginning or end. Rhythm can be described as the beat and pace of a poem. The rhythmic beat is created by the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line or verse. In modern poetry, line breaks, repetition and even spaces for silence can help to create rhythm. But poetry has a body language. The poet’s way of breathing supplies oxygen to the body and to the poem. The poet’s way of walking and talking is inherent in the poem. I knew a poet who walked like the prow of a ship cutting through waves, the bone in its teeth, as sailors say, and that how her poems walked and talked.


Maya Berkley - Body Language (Speed, Pace, Rhythm, Caesura) -
Margaret Atwood's Night Poem - 360 poetry experience (Winner of the 2016 Evelyn Horowitz Video Poetry Prize) -
Presentation -