25+ Slam Poems Appropriate for Middle School and High School

25+ Slam Poems Appropriate for Middle School and High School

Interested in using slam poetry examples in your classroom, but not sure which poem would best?  I’ve got you.

Slam poetry is a little bit of an obsession of mine, and as a teacher that has taught grades 6-12 ELA, I’m always scrolling through slam poems to find ones that are both inspiring, awesome, and appropriate for the age group.  It’s hard to keep track of which ones are and which ones aren’t, so FINALLY, here’s a list of ones that are tried and true.

If you want ideas for how to use them, check out my introduction to slam poetry lesson plan here.  The lesson could be appropriate for all ages.

Slam poems that may be appropriate for middle or high school classrooms:

Name/Link Poet Topic
Waiting for Someone Lamar Jorden Conversation with homeless veteran
Louder than a Bomb trailer (About slam poetry competition in Chicago)
Times I’ve Been Mistaken for a Girl Alex Dang Gender Stereotypes
B (*F-Bomb warning–somewhere in the second half.  May want to preview before showing) Sarah Kay Inspirational
Touchscreen Marshall Davis Jones Critiquing digital use–major hit, all grades
Bronx 6th Grader Wows Poetry Scene Kioni “Popcorn” Marshall Various; also talks about story of 6th grade slam poet
Shake the Dust Anis Mojgani Inspirational
Totally Like Whatever, You Know? Taylor Mali Speaking with conviction
Scratch and Dent Dreams Eric Darby Go for your dreams
Letter to the Playground Bully Andrea Gibson Overcoming bullies
Blink Lamar Jorden  Answers question: Why slam?
“If I Should Have a Daughter..” TEDTalk Sarah Kay Ted Talk on TEACHING Slam Poetry
3 poems: 59, Paper People, and The Sunshine Kid Henry Baker One is a poem with number puns, and the other two are inspiring poems about the world. Great for teaching personification and alliteration
White Boy Privilege Royce Mann  White student examining his own privilege. Words for “White Boy Privilege”

Depending on your school, these next one might be a little intense, inappropriate, or advanced for middle school.  BUT, all are definitely grounds for high school, and definitely still awesome:

Name/Link Poet Topic
To This Day Shane Koyczan Bullying. I’ve used this for Socratic Seminar before
Cody Nova Venerable Relationship to brother with Special X
Knock Knock Daniel Beaty Systemic oppression and losing a parent
Poet Breathe Now Adam Gottlieb Writing/how to write/importance of poetry
Rigged Game Dylan Garity Problems with education
LeBron James Nate Marshall LeBron James fandom
Please Resist Me Luka Lesson Multiculturalism and discrimination

Definitely inappropriate for my middle school, though they blow me away.  Perhaps ok for high school:

Name/Link Poet Topic
Direct Order Anis Mojgani Inspirational–great for similes. I actually have used this for 6th grade, taking out a few choice parts
The Impotence of Proofreading Taylor Mali The importance of proofreading your work
Counting Graves Steinmenauts at Louder than a Bomb Gun and drug violence–POWERFUL
Shooter Lamar Jorden School shootings from the perspective of a shooter

This is just a start, but please, comment with more suggestions! I’m always looking for more!

Want some next steps in using them in your classroom?

I’ve got a Slam Poetry Day 1 lesson plan here.

And I would never have kids perform slam poetry without first doing a variation of this speech marathon lesson plan here.

7 thoughts on “25+ Slam Poems Appropriate for Middle School and High School

  1. Thank you so much for this list! These offerings will definitely inspire my 8th graders. I’ve also used this one: A Muslim and Jewish girl’s bold poetry slam

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