Slam Poetry workshops

Year 9 and 10

This pilot program is an exciting collaboration between the NSW Department of Education Arts Unit and Word Travels. Participating schools will get to experience a slam poetry performance, four student workshops and a full day professional learning session for participating teachers. The program will culminate in an inter-school slam poetry competition. 

This program is intended to help students find their voice and explore the exciting and powerful world of slam poetry. It is also intended to empower and guide teachers in developing a school slam poetry program.

student delivering slam poetry

Program inclusions

The program will be held over Terms 1 and 2 and will include the following:

  • Slam poetry performance by Miles Merrill, open to a whole Year 9 and 10 cohort (at no additional cost).
  • Write to Speak - 6 hours of student workshops (4 x 1.5 hour workshops), for up to 20 students per school.
  • Full day of teacher professional learning (teacher identified). Your school will be paid relief teacher costs for 1 teacher per school.
  • A copy of Slam Your Poetry: Write a Revolution by Miles Merrill and Narcisa Nozica.
  • Inter-school slam poetry competition - paid relief day for 1 teacher per school.


  • Teacher Professional Learning and Poetry Slam Competition - at Blakehurst High School (COVID-19 restrictions pending)
  • Performance and Student workshops - in person at participants school

Cost: Schools will be charged depending on the number of teachers and students who attend the program.

  • Professional learning session: $150 per teacher
  • Student workshop: $20 per student

Payment of one relief day per school will be covered by the Arts Unit for the professional learning day and the slam poetry competition day.


Date Activity Duration Description

Term 1, Week 6

Thurs 4 or Fri 5 March

Slam poetry performance and presentation 50 mins

Slam poetry performance by Miles Merrill (from Word Travels) at your school.

Students are encouraged to sign up for the program after seeing the presentation.

Term 1, Week 8

Wed 17 or Thurs 18 March

Student workshop #1 1.5 hours

Workshop 1: Getting started

Writing activities covering freewriting, concepts and authenticity.

Term 1, Week 10

Wed 31 March

Teacher professional learning day

5 hours

9:00am - 3:00pm

The professional learning will be held at Blakehurst HS (Covid pending).

Teachers will work with Miles Merrill and Narcisa Nozica to develop their understanding of performance poetry. More info below.

Term 2, Week 3

Wed 5 or Thurs 6 May

Student workshop #2 1.5 hours

Workshop 2: Editing and using devices

Activities to support students with editing, sculpting ideas, using abstract language and metaphor, using characters and voice.

Term 2, Week 6

Wed 26 or Thurs 27 May

Student workshop #3 1.5 hours

Workshop 3: Performing

Students will explore adding performance elements, movement, sound effects and audience interaction.

Term 2, Week 8

Wed 9 or Thurs 10 June

Student workshop #4 1.5 hours

Workshop 4: Bringing it all together

Focus on rehearsing, memorising, stage fright and using a mic.

Representative/s will be selected from each school to compete at the inter-school slam poetry competition.

Term 2, Week 10

Thurs 24 June

Inter-school slam poetry competition

3 hours

9:30am - 12:30pm

This poetry slam will be held either online or at Blakehurst High School (COVID-19 restrictions pending).

School representatives will participate in a poetry slam, presenting the works they have developed during the program.

Teacher professional learning session

The professional learning session will be held at Blakehurst High School (COVID-19 restrictions pending). Teachers will work with Miles Merrill and Narcisa Nozica to develop their skills in:

  • The principles of teaching students as writers and as performers.
  • Developing a program of study for the teaching of performance poetry.
  • Receive a copy of the book Slam Your Poetry: Write a Revolution by Miles Merrill and Narcisa Nozica.
  • Strategies for engaging students in writing and performing their works.
  • Experience strategies that will be explored in further workshops.
  • Addressing ideas and issues for the school context.

Please note that the 5 hours of professional learning will be teacher identified. 


Justine Clarke
Speaking Competitions Officer
The Arts Unit
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