Spoken word poetry with 5th and 6th graders

For their sixteenth week of poetry Shoesmith 5th and 6th graders explored Spoken Word poetry. Spoken Word poems are made for the stage, its storytelling told through elements of rhythm, rhyme, repetition, improvisation, jazz, and even hip-hop. Most students were familiar with Poetry Slams, which are spoken word competitions, where poets battle it out with their best work for a prize.

Together we read and listened to a student named Nikoli’s spoken word poem, “Mathematical Blues,” that he performed at the Fall Leaf Kids Poetry Slam. Nikoli uses unique rhymes and rhythm to describe his feelings about math. The teaching staff will feel my wrath/ for taking me down the wrong math path/ I want to fly,/not to divide and multiply. Like Nikoli there were subjects that many students disliked about school such as gym, science, and reading.

5th and 6th graders were inspired to write own spoken word poems, using repetition and unique rhymes.


Ms. Yassky’s 5th Grade
Group 1


Reading Is…
by Aubrey L. 

In reading class
I have to read not dream.
Reading can be fun
but only when your done.

In reading class we are forced to read
and never be free.
When I flip a book page
I start to rage.

Books have me shook.


The Seen
by Ameer R.

If you doing the time, your doing the crime.
If you doing the dime, your doing the time.
If you doing the trouble, I’m doing the rumble.
If you doing the crumble, I’m doing the trouble.
If you doing the reading, I’m doing the crashing.
If you the crane, I’m doing the train.
If you doing the writing, I’m doing the timing.
If you the power, I’m doing the tower.

If you doing the law, I’m doing the taw.
If you doing the lap, I’m doing the tap.
If you doing the tap, I’m doing the sap.

If you doing the knuckle, I’m doing the chuckle.
If you  the lee, I’m doing the free.
If you doing the mark, I’m doing the park.
If you doing the cooking, I’m doing the booking.
If you doing the cleaning, I’m doing the teaming.

If I’m cutting Taffy, you eating the cafe.


My Spoken Word
by Richard H.

I love school to learn but rather
be with my friends.

I love home for sleep, but I would rather
not sweep.

You do the anime, you do time.
You want a chime, you got to pay
with dime.

Your learn, you earn.

I like to sleep, so I don’t sweep.
I be lurking, when I should be learning.



Ms. Yassky’s 5th Grade
Group 2


School Is Cruel 
By Jayden C. 

School isn’t cool.
When they explain a problem, I drool.
I rather be in a pool.

It feels like a chore and a bore.
What do we need school for?
I want to walk out the door
and get chips from the store.

When I go home, I play a
card duel.


The School Bluez
By Nyah D.

I got those classroom bluez.
I’d rather be in a nice bath than sit
in this dumb class.

I’d rather be crying than be in science.
When I’m in Math, I feel like a trash bag.
I’d rather be eating than be reading.

But when it comes to gym
Imma be in there playing like pimp.

And when we are outside
I feel like I’m on a hot mountain side.

And in poetry I’m in the best cloud
in the whole timeline.


Kyleigh F.

Math is the best
though I always fail my test

Reading is alright,
its boring not something I like.

Writing needs inspiration,
so you can do it without hesitation.

Science needs the right teacher.
She’s either nice like a flower,
or like the Grim Reaper.



Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade
Group 1


The Life of Literature
by Patrick B. 

Reading is like a messy garden.
Its my opinion, I beg your pardon.

Reading gives me chills
just like eating hot chilly.

Reading is like sitting
in a hot


Hot Day
By Kelise C.

I hate gym on a hot day.
It makes me feel some kind of way.

Run Run Run
is not Fun Fun Fun
Everyday in the hot sun?

Does not make my day

Creating art makes my heart beat.
Gym just makes my feet stink.



Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade
Group 2


In-School Blues 
By Ryan B.

All this reading is too much pain
to my brain.

After snack class is back,
I’d rather be eating steak
then the teacher giving me a headache.

I’d rather do chores,
than be here anymore.

These long hours are wrong.

I’d rather take a long bubble bath than do math.
Some people risk not doing Math for a laugh.

I just want to take a nap, but I’m doing laps.


School and Stuff
By Max B.

With a groan,  I wanna go home

When the light shines
I see the great classmates of mine.

My eyes are bleeding
when I go to reading.

When I go to lunch,
I love feasting

Some people already know
that I just want to grow.


Math’s History
By Kezia C. 

I want to be glad
and not to be sad.
I want to get good grades,
not bad.

I don’t want to read
I want to do math.
In gym I want to do laps
while taking a nap.

I like Math because it feels
like I’m taking a bath.

I hate reading because I get
confused. But when I go to
math, i get straight through.

I love school because
it makes my mind blue.

I hate reading,
but I like thinking.


The Cool Rhymes 
By Zachery S.

In class to go to the bathroom,
I need a hall pass.

In art I help out to play a part.

In reading I always feel
like I should be leading.

In gym when its hot
it feels like I’m swimming
in a boiling pot.

When I go to lunch
I munch munch munch

My school has some
cool learning tools.






“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.