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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 Poetry Unit Plan--166 pages of lesson plans, power point slides, and poems your students will LOVE

Looking for a Slam Poetry Unit Plan? Click here! It’s on sale!!–>




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

Name/Link Poet Topic
I Want to Hear a Poem Steve Colman Poem demanding that people slam about what matters. Awesome wordplay and great poem to kick off slam poetry
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 more help teaching slam poetry?  I’ve got you covered. Check out these other resources:

You might also be interested in:

Slam Poetry Unit Plan--166 pages of lesson plans, power point slides, and poems your students will LOVE

If you haven’t grabbed your Slam Poetry Unit Plan yet, what are you doing? Seriously, it’s on sale now, go grab it! 166 pages of slam poetry goodness that your students won’t just love, but grow in all those meaningful, I-am-powerful-hear-me-roar ways.  Go get it, go get it!




One Week Slam Poetry Mini-Unit--designed to be stand-alone OR inserted into your current poetry unit. Perfect to add interest, energy, and meaning into your students' poetry experience.

Like the idea of using slam poetry in the classroom, but not ready for 3 weeks of it?  This Slam Poetry Mini-Unit takes students through brainstorming, drafting, planning, and performing a meaningful slam poem, all in ONE week.  It’s the perfect chunk of lessons to add slam poetry into a poetry unit, or to fill a week with engaging, meaningful content for students.



Good for ANY type of writing you have your students do, this is a lesson plan with handouts, slides, and even tips for how to help students hone their peer conferences for each other.


You’d probably also like this Peer Conference/Feedback lesson plan.  It’s good to use for ANY type of writing and designed to lift both student’s academic conversations and writing.  Swoon.




50 ideas for publishing student writing at the end of a unit.Looking for more ways to celebrate and publish student work at the end of your units? Check out my post with a list of OVER 50 ideas you could do with your students to publish their writing. Why not hand over the list to them and let them pick?



Also these FREE resources:

Want to get your feet wet?  Try this Slam Poetry Day One: Speak Your Truth for free. It’s the perfect lesson to kick off your poetry or slam poetry unit with a meaningful bang.

20 Ways to Help Reluctant Writers in your Classroom–a list of ways you can make your classroom more friendly to students reluctant to write, as well as trouble-shooting ideas for students who refuse to write.

How to Teach Students to Own that Speech–a lesson plan I’ve also adapted for teaching Slam Poetry, this is the perfect lesson before your slam poetry competition.

Teaching Writing Pinterest Board–My spot to collect all the most useful resources I can find for teaching writing–if you like this post, you’re sure to like this collection.

ELA Resources Pinterest Board–A collation of engaging, best-practice resources for ELA teachers.

My Teachers Pay Teachers Store–If you liked this, you’re sure to like resources in my store. I’ve taught writing for grades 6, 7, 8, 10, and 12, so teaching writing is my store’s specialty!


  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

  2. Hello! This list and your unit has been SUPER HELPFUL! From the Louder than a Bomb film, Nate Marshall – ‘LOOK’ is fantastic. I think one bad word, but the tonal change halfway through is amazing.

    • Adam—thanks so much for the feedback! It makes my day to hear! And thanks for the tip on “Look”—I’m always looking for more. Nate Marshall is awesome. I’ll check it out and may add it to my slam poetry email list. Thanks again!

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