Performance poetry: top tech tips for getting started

On National Poetry Day, Caitlin McMillan explores the apps that can help children engage with and perform poetry.

Hip Hip Hooray
It’s National Poetry Day
And we’d like to say….
We think poetry is a key component of the English curriculum, but the manner of pupil engagement with it as an art form is evolving.

Catchy.

Slam poetry, or performance poetry, is becoming increasingly popular, especially with young people. Organisations such as SLAMbassadors (run by the Poetry Society) are harnessing this trend and bringing competitions and performance opportunities to young people across the country.

So why get children to perform poetry?

Aside from the self-confidence and performance skills that can be gained through this medium, performing poetry can help children to better understand and engage with the text itself.

Speaking poetry out loud allows children to engage with literary devices in a tangible fashion; having to get their mouths around the likes of alliteration, rhyme and onomatopoeia can help children to recognise these features and feel for themselves what effect they have upon a text.

How can technology help?

There are a number of apps out there which can help get children get started writing poetry. This list of some great digital poetry tools for the iPad is a good place to kick off from.

One of our favourites is the Word Mover App, which takes all the fun of fridge magnet poetry and puts it on the iPad. You can also find a similar, but slightly more limited, online version here.

Most children’s access to performance poetry will be through YouTube, so giving them the opportunity to create their own video content (using a tool such as iMovie) can be a great way of engaging them with the art form; children who would struggle with performing in front of an entire class are given the opportunity through film to gain performative skills (volume, pacing, pitching etc) without the pressure of a large live audience.

To get started with performance poetry in the classroom, check out Joseph Coelho’s brilliant YouTube channel.

Joseph is also involved with the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival writing project. Applications are open until October 19 2018, and more information can be found here: https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/about/get-involved/schools/special-project-schools/imagine-schools-writing-project

 

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