When Susan Colbert found out she had received the Foundation's $1000 Literacy Focus Award, she could not wait to get started on her Bohemian Coffee House on a Cart. Taking an old TV cart and converting it so that it could travel from classroom to classroom was her 2013 summer project. She scoured sales and kept an eye out for discounted products to use in her coffee house.

Check out Ms. Colbert's interview video here.

When school started in the fall, Ms. Colbert announced that she was ready. Several English teachers embraced the idea of the traveling coffee house and requested use of the cart. Each teacher has had a different creative plan for using Ms. Colbert's coffee house items which include huge fuzzy pillows, colorful table clothes, mood-setting cafe lights, Chinese lanterns, electronic tea lights and, of course, a couple of Kuerig coffee makers.

Ms. Worth and Ms. Ford set up an open mic night (well, it was during the day, but they turned the lights off) complete with bongo drums and a rain stick for impromptu music. Students were given instructions (see below) for the Poetry Slam focusing on passaged in A Seperate Peace.

Ms. Ford and Ms. Worth said they wanted to use the coffee house and it inspired them to come up with the Golden Shovel Poetry Slam. The student sipped coffee and tea as they graded classmates to determine the winner.

Where will Ms. Colbert's Coffee House make it's next stop? Ask your English teacher if she can stop by your classroom . . . but you will have to think of a creative way - Bohemian Style - to entice her to show up!

A student reads his poem while bongo drum and rain stick keep tempo.

Ms. Colbert Golden Shovel Bongo Drums

Knowles poetry was inspiration for the slam

Partners share their poem

Instead of clapping after each presentation, snapping was encouraged

These young ladies enjoyed the slam

You have been invited to perform in our Poetry Slam. Here is what you need to do and to expect on the day of our competition:

Write your poem:

o Write and illustrate your found poem from A Separate Peace.

o REMEMBER: These will not be your own words. However, you will arrange them into verse format in order to present your chosen theme.

Example: A poem about JEALOUSY could possibly use lines like: "I couldn't help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little."

o Think about these long quotes and figure out how to divide them into shorter lines of verse.

o You must choose lines that all have something in common with the theme. Then, arrange them into verse format in a way that delivers the message with the most impact.

o Try to write at least a 10-line poem, so that you can get the highest degree of impact for your message.

o Illustrate your poem with images from the lines you've chosen.

Prior to performance:

o Read the poem aloud several times.

o Practice in front of your group or a friend.

o Try to understand what the poem means.

You need to understand what your message is.

Look for emotional cues (words that signal an emotion).

Know when to pause and when to keep reading.

Try to get a feel for when you might use hand gestures or facial expressions.

You might try walking around, moving your feet, or just standing still. Which one works best?

The day of performance:


o Get comfortable.

o You do not have to memorize your poem, but you should have a print copy (paper, note cards) to read from in front of the audience.

o Tell the audience the title of the poem.

o Don't just read the poem off the page - bring it to life for us! Help us understand what you were feeling when this poem came from you.

o Be prepared to show your illustration during your performance. Either have someone hold it, put it on a PowerPoint slide to be projected, or make a poster.

o Things to keep in mind during your performance:

Don't speak too quickly.

Don't fidget.

Don't use a monotone voice.

Don't overact.

Don't mispronounce words.

Use lots of eye contact with your audience.

Feel confident - look confident!

Present yourself well and be attentive. Look confident.

Engage your audience. Look them in the eye.

Nervous gestures, poor eye contact with the audience, and lack of poise or confidence will take away from your score.

Those not performing will help us to evaluate these poems and decide which one should be crowned the winner.

* Each person will fill out a scoring guide for each performance to help us decide which performance is best.

* The performer with the highest points will win; in the case of a tie, the

Poetry Slam scoring guide

Write name of each performer here. Give them points in each column.


Points possible


* The poet speaks clearly.

* The poet projects his/her voice.

* The poet effectively performs to the audience.

5 pts.


* The poet conveys ideas and mood of the poem with body language, gestures, and facial expressions.

* The poet conveys the ideas and mood of the poem with his/her energy and emotion.

5 pts.


* The poem has a title.

* The poem has effective use of vocabulary and figurative language.

* The poem has a clear point of view and an idea.

* The poem conveys and captures human emotion and experience.

* The poem uses rhythm and sound devices.

* The poem is illustrated with at least one appropriate graphic. That graphic illustrates a theme or image in the poem.

10 pts.

Total Points

20 pts.