Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2013

Power Poetry

Empowering online community honors teen poets

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
7-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: The site encourages kids from all backgrounds to make their story heard, and the community is incredibly supportive.

Cons: There's no way to search the site by writer, making it hard for teachers to find particular students and view their work.

Bottom Line: Teens can freely meld multimedia poetry and activism in an open, encouraging space.

You could introduce Power Poetry into a high school or junior high classroom in a few ways. The themed slams are often timely, and having students write poems on current issues could help them process complex feelings. You could also create a class slam topic inspired by Power Poetry, have students write poems during a section of class time, then spend a few minutes sharing at the end of the day. On the downside, there's no way to search poems by writer, making it really difficult for a teacher to track student work unless they send individual links to poems published on the site. Educators should know that Power Poetry isn't really about criticism, it's about simply getting students to express themselves using words and supporting that effort.

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Power Poetry is an online platform for teens to write, share, and discuss poems. The site hosts online slams, where kids submit poems on specific topics and are judged by their peers. The bulk of Power Poetry pages are a well-organized, open forum for kids to write poems on any subject, and the site offers novel ways for them to contribute, including video "poemisodes" and audio.

Users create an account with a username and password. Once logged in, they're able to browse poems written by other users, write their own poems, or view resources. To submit a poem to be published on the site, users can write directly into a text field or upload multimedia content. They'll then add tags to the poem (love, school, family, etc) so it can be added to a Power Poetry category. Students are identified by their first name and last initial or can choose to remain anonymous.

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Teens learn by contributing and reading poems. They can participate in themed slams and can gain confidence from peer feedback. Teens can learn storytelling skills while sharing their own experiences and gain insight into others' lives by reading and analyzing their poems. They will use their imaginations to figure out how best to tell their stories with words, sounds, and images. As part of a supportive writing community, teens can learn to honor the voices of others as much as their own.

Power Poetry is a positive, diverse, energetic community that supports kids through the tough journey of adolescence (and life), encouraging them to use poetry as a tool for social change and personal growth. The breadth of topics that poets address on the site will appeal to a wide range of teen interests. The best part of Power Poetry: The site truly encourages young people of all backgrounds to share their stories, emphasizing individuality and the importance of developing your own voice. It's a very supportive community that can really empower kids who feel disenfranchised. The social media aspect of the site could also be enhanced; while users are able to comment on each other's work, there's no way to bookmark favorite poems or add poets to a friends list. The large, inclusive community is nice, but it needs to be broken down a bit more for practical purposes.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

From the ability to text a poem to clicking on a "Random Poem of Fate," the creators make poetry feel fresh and new for youngsters.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

The site's focus is empowerment, and poets are encouraged at every opportunity. Kids learn to process their emotions through the lens of poetry, and get support by socializing with a diverse community of mentors and peers.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

The help page is limited and there's no FAQ, but site navigation is straightforward and helpful information can be found throughout. Most of the content is written, but multimedia poems can appeal to kids with different learning styles.


Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

3
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Featured review by
Scott C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
3
Fun,social way to engage students in poetry

Since the website is online, students can share their poems and get comments from peers from all of the world. I use the posted poems as a teaching resource and then have my students write poems based on the Power Poetry themes we explore. The sharing aspect is very popular with some of my students who are looking to have their work evaluated by their peers rather than academically. The website does require them to sign-up so they have to get permission from home before they can post. Anyone can view the poems without signing up.

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