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Speak

Your Peace
T his a c tiv ity inv ites participants to learn
about global situations where conflict exists and peace
is needed.

t i m e r e q u i r e d : t wo o r t h r ee 6 0 - M i n u t e s e s s i o n s |
i NT E ND E D F O R G R A D E s 9 - 1 2

» Pens or pencils, one for each participant


Mat erials
N eeded

» Writing paper, two to three sheets for each participant


» Recording device (optional)
» Microphone (optional)
» Computer with Internet access

Preparation
Y o u w il l b e s ho wing participants a few videos that can be found on YouTube. Locate
these videos ahead of time and choose the ones you’d like to show. (Search with both the video
title and creator’s name for best results.) Options for consideration include:

» A Single Rose by 12-year-old Mustafa Ahmed

» Sudanese Children by Shannon Leigh

» Speak With Conviction by Taylor Mali

» What I Will by Suheir Hammad

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Activity Steps
1 Introduce the concept of “spoken word” using the
following key points:

» Spoken word involves one or more people performing a poem, using voice, gesture, rhythm,
and pacing to enhance its meaning.

» In the late 1980s, Marc Kelly Smith, a Chicago poet and construction worker, introduced
spoken-word “poetry slams” as a platform for social commentary. Spoken-word poetry can
be about any topic, but lends itself well to social justice issues such as peace and conflict.

» It’s not mandatory to follow established grammar rules as long as the message is clear.
There are no formal rules or structure to spoken-word poetry; informal language and free
verse can be used for deliberate effect.

» Spoken-word poetry can be a tool for advocacy, allowing people whose voices traditionally
go unheard to be heard in a forum where words are the main currency.

2 S h o w t w o o r t hr ee of the spoken-word videos you have chosen from the list above.

3 Assign participants the following task:

» Create a one- or two-minute spoken-word poem about ending conflict and promoting
peace (or some other social justice issue). If you aren’t already aware of some of the current
global conflict situations, take this opportunity to educate yourself about them.

» You will be performing your spoken-word piece for the entire group (or a broader
audience) to enjoy.

» Here are a few helpful hints:

• When you start writing, don’t edit. Write fast or slow, but don’t prejudge your ideas.
Write from your own honest observations, experiences, and thoughts. The point is to
get something down on paper to edit and polish later. You don’t even have to write your
thoughts in order; random lines or verses can be organized more coherently at the editing
stage.

• Rewrite. Few people write a masterpiece in one sitting, so edit and re-edit your
work. Play with the flow and beat of the lines, use lots of concrete images (nouns and
adjectives) and active verbs, and choose precise words or phrases to make your meaning
clear. Try to make the poem about one specific thing.

• Read your poem out loud. After all, it is spoken word! Figure out how the words feel
in your mouth and sound in your ears. Commit them to memory. You’ll be performing at
some point, so be critical of the poem’s strong and weak elements. Record your voice and
listen to it in order to make changes or improvements.

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• Once you are satisfied your poem is the best it can be, share it with someone whose
opinion you trust. Ask for honest feedback on improving both the poem and your
performance. Be receptive to suggestions, but remember it is your decision whether or

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not to make any changes.

L e t t he pa rt ic ipa nts k no w that they may work individually or in pairs, and that they
will have this session and the next to work on the assignment. Then give them a few sheets of
paper and a pen or pencil to begin working.

5 W h e n y o u b e gin the next sessio n, share the following points before inviting
participants to continue working on their assignment:

» Welcome back. Let’s review a few things to keep in mind as you continue to work on your piece:

• Voice. This is your most important and powerful performance tool. It’s all you
need to carry the poem off well. Work on pitch (high or low sound tone), intonation
(the melody established by varying patterns of pitch), and pace (the speed of speech,
which sets mood and tone). In pure spoken-word performance, costumes, props, and
instruments are not allowed. While this may seem intimidating (or even boring), think
of performers you admire whose voices mesmerize the audience.

• Body language, gesture, and facial expression. Use your body to convey the
nuances of your poem. Enhance the words with facial expression, hand gestures, and
movement, exuding confidence through your placement on stage and use of voice and/or
microphone.

• Memorization. Reading from a paper is allowed, but seriously consider memorizing


if possible. Memorization allows you to make eye contact with the audience, pay closer
attention to your delivery, and appear more confident on stage.

• Audience awareness. Be aware of your audience and speak to them. You are confiding
your thoughts and asking them to relate.

• Technical elements. This includes keeping to time limits, microphone use, and use of
stage (blocking).

6 At t h e c o nc l us io n of the second session, remind the participants that they will be


performing their spoken-word piece at the next gathering. Ask them to arrive prepared and
ready for their presentation.

7 At t h e t hir d a nd fina l sessio n, invite each participant (or pairing) to perform


their poem for the entire group. If time allows, invite discussion about the topic after each
performance.

Copyright © 2010 World Vision, Inc., Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716,
wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.

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About World Vision
W o r l d V is io n is a Christian humanitarian organization
dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities
worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of
poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World
Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of
God’s unconditional love for all people. We see a world where each
child experiences “fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we
know this can be achieved only by addressing the problems of poverty
and injustice in a holistic way. That’s how World Vision is unique:
We bring 60 years of experience in three key areas needed to help
children and families thrive: emergency relief, long-term development,
and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across many areas of
expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for
children’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Partnering with World Vision provides tangible ways to honor


God and put faith into action. By working, we can make a lasting
difference in the lives of children and families who are struggling to
overcome poverty. To find out more about how you can help, visit
www.worldvision.org.

About World Vision Resources


E nding gl o b a l po v erty and injustice begins with education:
understanding the magnitude and causes of poverty, its impact on
human dignity, and our connection to those in need around the world.

World Vision Resources is the publishing ministry of World Vision.


World Vision Resources educates Christians about global poverty,
inspires them to respond, and equips them with innovative resources
to make a difference in the world.

For more information about our


resources, contact:
World Vision Resources
Mail Stop 321
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
Fax: 253-815-3340
wvresources@worldvision.org
www.worldvisionresources.com

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