Public Speaking takes on poetry

As the school year comes to an end, many classes are finishing out the year strong. Teachers are using this time to help students prepare for finals and provide them with as much knowledge as possible before the year closes. While the school year slows down, English teacher Kelly Wood continues to push her public speaking students in an exciting way by taking on the challenge of reading slam poetry.

“Students select one poem to their liking with a connection to content or author,” Wood said. “They memorize the poem, and then recite the poem using techniques and annotations.”

This assignment is a little different from the students’ usual tasks because of the difference in their regular research-based speeches and poetry. 

“In other projects, we write and present our own words and research findings,” said Wood, “but with the poems, speakers are honoring the words of another author completely.”

This task offers students the relief of not having to write a speech, but it adds the burden of correctly reflecting the author’s tone. 

 “This is a huge responsibility to transfer the author’s purpose and emotion, using only their diction, voice, and body language to an audience,” said Wood. “The fewer words to speak, the more accurate and precise the delivery.”

Senior Cole Nahlik enjoyed the change of pace this assignment brought and the way it helped him grow as a speaker. 

“It helped us get outside of our comfort zone and try something out of the ordinary,” Nahlik said, “which allowed us to experience other types of public speaking.”

This change of pace in the type of assignment was a nice refresher for the students. It was a fun assignment that also provided the students with the needed skills to advance their public speaking abilities. 

“Students mainly gain confidence, poise and character by taking risks to create and entertain beyond themselves, activating the voice and emotion of the poem,” said Wood. “Students must connect to an audience quickly and transcend them to another place and time.”

This different and exciting project was enjoyed by the students and helped push them out of their comfort zones while allowing them to advance academically with their public speaking skills. Many believe that studying poetry is a great way to learn, and presenting it can bring it to a new level. As Wood said, “Poetry is Power.”