Word War – 21st century poetry


At the International Literacy Day conference on the 4th of September one of the workshops introduced the concept of Rap Battles, Word Wars and Poetry Slams.

South Lanarkshire practitioner Peter Kelly talked about how he engaged his S2 pupils in poetry with a 21st century twist. This was inspired by the Authors Live – Poetry Slam event, hosted by the Scottish Book Trust, where poets went head-to-head in a Poetry Slam . . . a little like a poetry talent contest.

Learners worked collaboratively to write pieces of poetry based on discursive subjects such as technology and TV talent shows. In South Lanarkshire learners went head-to-head across schools in the Authority. Check out the Word War Battles blog for more information.

Watch the video below to see the South Lanarkshire 2013 Word War Final:

CLICK HERE for a How-to on running a Poetry Slam

CLICK HERE for discursive writing activities for a Rap Battle

CLICK HERE for a guide on staging a Word War

This could be used as a way of engaging learners in topical debates whilst incorporating poetry, rhythm and rhyme. Although the resources are tailored at Third Level, the principles could be used with P7 as a transition event for S1. Mixing P7 pupils from feeder schools with S1 pupils from the Secondary could be a great transition project.

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