Communications 101/102 create slam poetry speeches Focuses on student’s truths, struggles passions

Practicing for a presentation, senior Jacob Crayne recites his speech while seniors Sukhraj Singh and Nathan Chau give him notes. Students were given three class periods to prepare their speeches. “My slam poetry is about how our society has many struggles that a lot of us don't see,” Chau said. “Personally, I’ve seen the corruption that appears behind our backs and how our government doesn’t give attention to many people.” Photo Credit: Grinesa Bajrami

In order to give students a chance to present on truths and struggles they care about, Com. 101/102 will be creating slam poetry. 

“I have given students significant versatility in arranging, outlining and structuring their slam poetry pieces,” Communications 101/102 instructor Henry Castillo said. “I wanted to do that because I wanted students to have a lot of autonomy and choice in how they wanted to present their truth, their struggle [and] their passion.”

Slam poetry is a type of writing in which is meant to be performed or recited in front of an audience.

“We did one speech prior to this which was the declamation speech where students choose a famous speech and recited it in front of the class,” Castillo said. “It was a good way to introduce students to public speaking because they didn’t have to come up with the actual content themselves.”

The spoken word piece must include five ACT/SAT terms and should have one clear theme presented throughout the whole piece. 

“I’m doing my slam poetry on the uncertainty of life, more specifically, a crisis I’m having senior year,” senior Dailuaine Esguerra said. “This is my last high school year, which means responsibilities and decision making are creeping closer and it’s a little overwhelming. I hope to convey my poetry in a funny, yet relatable way.”

Students will be graded minimally on content compared to the delivery of their speech. Instead, the grading focus will be on six nonverbal categories: volume, pacing, posture, eye contact, hand gestures and tone. 

“The hardest part about public speaking is just doing it,” Castillo said. “There really is no deficiency in which a student can not present. The hardest part is having students overcome their fear and anxiety. Other than that, everything is going smoothly, I love public speaking and I love teaching it; I could teach it in my sleep.”