Spoken word for kids?
December 12, 2011 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Favorite spoken words/performed poems for kids?

My sixth grade English classes are finishing up a poetry unit and we have a Poetry Slam coming up this Friday where students will perform original poems.

I'd like to inspire the kids with a few Youtube clips of some age-appropriate (no swearing!) and powerful poetry performances.

Any favorites I can share? Extra points for direct links!
posted by brynna to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Shel Silverstein has some good ones. Some of them are sort of song-poems, they read well as poems. Some are for kids, some are not. I like this one about garbage.
posted by jessamyn at 9:30 PM on December 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I will not play at tug o' war

I'd rather play at hug o' war,

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs

Where everyone giggles

And rolls on the rug,

Where everyone kisses

And everyone grins

And everyone cuddles

And everyone wins.

-shel silverstein
posted by Nickel Pickle at 10:00 PM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Andrea Gibson's Letter to A Playground Bully is fantastic.

"I know that mermaids never ever miss their legs in the water, because there are better ways to move through an ocean than kicking."
posted by karminai at 10:23 PM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

This may not be quite what you are looking for but my children LOVED Odds Bodkin - especially Giant's Cauldron and The Odyssey. Jack Prelutsky was another favorite, especially the poems with a twist at the end.
posted by LiverOdor at 10:32 PM on December 12, 2011

Ok, hoisting my nerd flag high on this one...

Some of the animated Dr. Seuss specials are pretty awesome, though probably a bit baby-ish for 6th graders. Then again, maybe you can find something here like

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.

-- DS, The Lorax

How about some Tolkien poetry/language from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, or (in a real language nerd stretch) the Silmarilion?

There's just so much awesomeness to be found in Tolkien's world, a personal favorite that might work for some:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


Oh yea, and apparently it exists, there's Dark Tower (Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came) Minecraft fan vids.... I kid you not.


I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

-- T.S. Eliot

In conclusion the most awesome dog poem ever:

With eye upraised his master's look to scan,
The joy, the solace, and the aid of man:
The rich man's guardian and the poor man's friend,
The only creature faithful to the end.

-- George Crabbe
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:47 PM on December 12, 2011

posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:38 PM on December 12, 2011

I haven't listened to this whole clip to judge its, but Noah St. John, whom I heard on a Snap Judgment episode, is impressive.
posted by knile at 5:03 AM on December 13, 2011

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

-- Billy Collins, US Poet Laureate

as recited (from memory!) by the most adorable 3 year old ever.
posted by idlethink at 5:40 AM on December 13, 2011

I'm a huge fan of Sarah Kay: this is the first piece of her work I ever heard but there's plenty more to look through. She also did a TED talk (first part poem, second part talk) that was super entertaining and interesting.
posted by brilliantine at 6:24 AM on December 13, 2011

The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service was often performed by the fire at my summer camp. There are some great videos of it on YouTube. It seems like the kind of thing a sixth grade boy would enjoy.

Or if you're me, the kind of thing that would enchant a creepy seven year old girl.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:56 AM on December 13, 2011

I'm looking for spoken word that teaches the kids how to PERFORM poems, specifically.

Hope that helps clarify.
posted by brynna at 4:08 PM on December 13, 2011

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