Poetry On Fire Teacher’s Workshop: Developing Students’ Creative Writing Skills 2020
Distributed by epf media, 324 S. Beverly Drive, PMB 437, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; 310-839-1500
Produced by Larry Rattner and Sam Pierstorff
Directed by Jason Jaacks
Streaming, 47 mins
Date Entered: 06/30/2021Reviewed by Amanda Jo Melchor, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Texas A&M University - Kingsville
Poetry On Fire Teacher’s Workshop: Developing Students’ Creative Writing Skills a natural companion to Poetry On Fire: Igniting Students’ Passion For Poetry And Creative Writing. The workshop demonstrates how slam poetry is taught in a classroom setting, with poet and professor Sam Pierstoff leading a group of selected middle and high school students. Titled sections include “Teaching Slam Poetry: Rules,” “Emotion Card Pre-Writing Activity Directions,” and “Letter Poem Exercise.” At the end of the session, students read and perform their poetry.
Similar to its companion film, the workshop powerfully and clearly emphasizes how personal and intimate the slam poetry process can be for teens and students. This vulnerability reminds prospective instructors to tread mindfully and constructively when working with students. The film is informal and accessible but lack some in-depth explanation. Inclusion of instructor-oriented reasoning and foundations and explanations for different techniques, especially regarding how to work with students who may be struggling with their poetry or performance wasn’t present and would have been very useful in the film. A lesson plan with details about the activities and teaching techniques are included as a PDF attachment and flesh out the resource nicely as well. Writing exercises have their steps outlined and these could be easily replicated and used in an instructor’s classroom.
The film is organized and approachable. The workshop is broken down into scaffolded components, allowing the audience to see what the PDF lesson plan looks like as it’s executed. Teachers or instructors at the high school level and higher could find this film and its teaching suggestions useful. As is the case with its companion film, this item is supplementary. In-depth instruction details and commentary are not included in the film itself, instead relegated lesson plan on its website. So, while the film itself provides basic lesson structuring and easily applicable activities, it does not serve as a comprehensive instructor resource on the subject.
Overall, Poetry On Fire Teacher’s Workshop: Developing Students’ Creative Writing Skills lays out the basics for teaching a slam poetry workshop and the structure, rules, and activities the session should include. It’s a good instructor companion piece to Poetry On Fire: Igniting Students’ Passion For Poetry And Creative Writing.
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