The Power of Poetry

Students in MYP5 recently completed a unit on using the power of poetry for protest.  As a final assessment, they had the opportunity to write their own poetry and then reflect on their topic and literary choices.

Here are the instructions they were given:

Aim:  To show how poetry has the power to tell a story, deal with a difficult topic, or change an opinion.

Task: Write a poem you can perform (not just read) about something that is important to you. Perform it for your classmates (or record it and share it with the teacher) and then reflect on the process.  Follow these instructions:

  1. Find something you would like to write about. You can go back to your notes on topics that are important to you or choose something new.
  2. Write your poem, using the following requirements:
    • At least 50 words
    • minimum of 2 literary devices from our list
  3. Be prepared to perform it on the day it’s due.  If you aren’t comfortable doing that, record yourself and share it with me by the due date.
  4. Write a reflection (due the same day) on the process.  Answer the following questions:
    • Why did you choose this topic?  What were you trying to say? (What was your purpose in writing it?)
    • What techniques/literary devices did you use to get your point across?
  5. Hand in a written copy of the poem as well.


  • Don’t just read your poem.  Practice it and perform it, even if you record it ahead of time.
  • Really try to work with a topic that means something to you.  It will make the process easier.
  • Your reflection should be appropriately formatted as an assignment: proper paper, heading, title, etc.

Grading: The poem and your performance will be graded under Criteria C and D.   The reflection will be graded under A and B.  Read the criteria carefully, as they have been edited to fit the task.

Note: If you and a classmate are really feeling creative, you can work together to create a poetry debate, slam battle, or whatever you want to call it.  Just clear it with me first.

Unfortunately, nobody took the challenge of creating a slam battle, but we still had some interesting results.  Not everybody protested, but many poems covered topics that had meaning for their authors. Here are some examples:

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