Mic Check @ Shoesmith 5th and 6th Grade

For their eleventh virtual poetry lesson Shoesmith 5th  and 6th graders revisited some of their old poems they wrote since the beginning of our residency. Our lesson objective was to revise and edit poems for open mics. Open mics are events usually held at nightclubs, coffee houses, and comedy clubs where amateur and seasoned performers can share their work.  Students watched a YouTube video of Washington Middle 7th grade students (from Iowa) who had their own open mic at the Five Flag Center. Before they performed their poems in front of an audience, Washington students edited their work and added colorful figurative language.

Together we also read the poem “Mic Check,” by Zetta Elliott. In the spoken the speaker is getting ready to perform their poem at an open mic. At the beginning she seems nervous and unsure of herself. If my words don’t rhyme /will you take the time to learn/ or must I earn your attention/ with lyrical pretension? But she soon gains confidence by embracing her uniqueness as an artist and speaking her truth to the audience. I can’t rank emcees/ and won’t try to appease the poetry police/my words are plain/my message direct. Poems are not meant to be hidden but shared with the world. Yet it takes practice and preparation to feel comfortable on stage. Some students mentioned how they got ready for a performance by completing breathing exercises, humming  songs, and reading inspiring memes.

Inspired Zetta Elliott, students completed their own “mic checks.” They tuned up their old poems through revision so their words could be loudly heard.   Please enjoy these published poems.


Ms. Yassky’s 5th Grade
Group 1



Mic Check VA
By Brooklyn M.

Mic check 1..2..3! Can you hear me on this thing? Ok lets start! “But y-you can’t go! It’s too late…I want you to stay…stay here with…m-me.” Was that good? Ok one more to go! “Please don’t leave me here in this place..! It’s dangerous for me and you!”


How to learn from your mistakes
By Zachery S.

Phone rings

Hey Sam how are you?
“I’m good how are you today Robert”
“I’m good, hey I was trying to see if you were interested in having a food cook off”?
“Sure I’d love to do something like that wanna meet up at around 8”?
“Sure see you then’

Ding dong
“Sam’s here!”
“Hey Sam”
“Hey Robert nice seeing you”
“Ok let’s get started but first let was our hand you know Covid is going around” scroll down
“Yeah I agree I have been a little sick”
“Ok I’m ready Sam Make sure you don’t have the virus”
“Ok almost finished and I’m pretty sure i don’t” Scroll down for more

“Ok Sam what are you cooking today”
“I’m cooking steak, broccoli and rice.”
“Cool, I’m cooking mac and cheese, meatloaf and mashed potatoes”.
“Ok Let’s get to cooking”
“Ok Robert I’ll go first”
“Go for it Sam”


“Sam, that food already smells good.”
“Thanks rob lol”
“Almost done”

“Ok achoo”
Bless you

“Thanks Robert”
“I’m not about to eat you food Sam that’s nasty
You are sneezing over food and stuff

That’s unsanitary
So I’ll talk to you later

(2 weeks go by ) ‘’ring ring’’
“Hey Sam, Robert here”
“I just called to apologize I understand i came off a little bit wrong”
“Its okay just don’t do it again”
Ok I won’t But just make sure next time you go away from the food even if it’s allergies”

“Sorry it won’t happen again


Ms. Yassky’s 5th Grade
Group 2

The things in my dream
By Noah O.

Hello is this thing on
Check One! Check Two!
Give me a Beat!
May I take the time
To impress you with my dream
It won’t take long and it’s pretty neat!
I’m laying on my bed
And resting my head
And going off to sleep
When I wake up in my dream
I see things I’d never seen!
Like a cat riding a rat!
And horses with wings
And frogs who dance and sing
I see dogs with human legs
And snakes in little hats
And geese doing yoga on leather mats!
This dream is unusual
Just like me
And now I can see
That this dream is the world I want it to be


Hosting An Open Mic Night
By Morgan R.

Today I’m hosting an open mic night.
I wanna see what hidden talents people have!
I don’t like to predict the future, that’s why I’m so eager.
I put flyers all around town, I put flyers on social media.
I hired chefs so the food is going to be bussin!
I got professional entertainment with Chris Rock before the open mic begins!
Let’s see what the snappers and laughers, and and crowd got to bring!


Mic Check
By Ashton S. 

mic check
drop the beat
must you hear it
or I muss repeat
if you hear it and you like
I will most likely be satisfied if you don’t like it in your prime
I’ll give you some chips and say
sorry for wasting your time.



Ms. Henry 6th Grade
Group 1



A to Z
By Mame F.

from A-Z the line we drew from you to me,
traced upon shores across the sea,
over the mountains,
past the forest trees,
along the roads,
and tracks,
all burned bridges,
no looking back,
for the love we have,
No car can stop,
nobody can top,
or a bolted lock,
for what is real,
Is meant to be ,
When 2 hearts beat


Learning Japanese Is Like
By Janelle M.

I had learned that learning Japanese is not easy well you see, learning Japanese is buying food without money, also
learning Japanese is as tricky as trying to study something that you don’t understand.

Learning Japanese is like trying to find your life without help.

Learning Japanese is like walking in the rain without an umbrella .

Learning Japanese is like trying to make money without a job.

Learning to speak Japanese is like someone cutting in your skin and you can’t get out.

In Japan you get stares and it feels like someone is watching you all the time.

Learning Japanese is not easy.

You can’t understand what people are saying and it makes you uneasy.
You think they are talking bad about you but you don’t know for sure.
Maybe it is worse but you don’t know.


Open Mic
Elliot S.

Hey there everyone, ah are y’all having a good day?
Good! Good..ok I’ll step up here..oh sorry.
So, today, we will be looking at how a day can differ from bad to good.
Today’s poem is A Scary, Creepy, Droopy Day to Work.
I get up, eat breakfast, tie shoes, prepare backpack
I don’t look forward to school on Monday
I mow down the stairs, to the pool of a bad day
The door could kiss me
The bus could miss me
The bus could explode, even if I make it, so I run
But what if a bully comes and bullies me?
What if a bulldog comes and bites me?
So I run, and it feels like seconds to stop Thanos from getting the Mind Stone
The doors open, I enter
What if everyone is rude?
So I put my hood on, and I walk true I enter the room, but there are only three teachers
One of them comes and says…”Here’s your report card!” I leave, I thank the teachers
Three As, two Bs, only one C!
I escaped a bad grade!
And so, that is the poem, so you can have a bad day for whatever reason,
But it can never be superior to a good day.
By the way, enjoy and admire the Thanos poster I put right there.


My Planet
By Darryl W.

My planet is like ice.

My planet plays games like Fortnite.

My planet likes to draw pictures of monsters.

My planet likes to move like a crazy person.

My planet likes to stay in cold places

My planet scream at its enemies

My planet talk it’s friends

My planet can do things what a person can do




Ms. Henry 6th Grade
Group 2


Sweater Weather
By Kalisse D.

The wind swayed like my hips when music plays
on a sunny evening as my dress flowed
mother always told me
“put a sweater on! “
it was too hot! I always said
she made me put it on anyways it was pretty, flowers..
I started to hate it. Hate hate hate
I got tired of that ugly thing she made me put on
I’ve gotten bullied.. I was so mad
I came home ranting at my mother! the told me to calm down
she started to cry and said:
“I have leukemia”
I cried..
She told me that’s the sweater she wore when she had her last day with her mother that had leukemia …
I felt bad … I said sorry and put the sweater on
she died of cancer in fall.
it was cold.. so I always wore it I miss her.
sweater weather.


What is love?
By Logan M.

Love is the warmth of god
love is trusting someone enough to let your heart free and let go
love is pretending to be something your not
love is to reap what you sow

Love can sometimes be scary
love is going on a honeymoon
love is someone you marry
love is knowing what it’s like to lose

to truly live is to love
to love is to be free like a dove


Trinity’s Fear 
By Trinity C.

My mom hasn’t come home in a while, she could be in danger right now!

If I stay in this position for too long, I could get stuck like this for the rest of my life!

My cousin is taking a while walking home from school alone, what if somebody kidnapped him?

If I do this, what will be the consequence?

There is something in my drink, what if it’s poison?

My mom just swept up the broken glass, but what if there are still little pieces and I step on one?

My mom told me to make a pizza in the oven, but what if I do something wrong, I could burn the house down?



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.