The Spoken Word Initiative at O’Keeffe Middle School

FMPS provided a grant to the Spoken Word Initiative for the 2012-13 school year to O’Keeffe Middle School, which provided students a unique outlet to express their identities, voice their feelings, and explore their own cultures. With richer resources opening opportunities for experiences outside the classroom, the 8th grade students were able to write and share pieces of themselves during five Open Mic Poetry Nights.

The Spoken Word unit culminated in a field trip to the Wisconsin State Poetry Slam Finals in Milwaukee. After several students voluntarily entered their pieces into poetry competitions, three students qualified to perform in a national adult poetry slam in Madison. By providing students techniques to express their individual voices and frustrations, the initiative encouraged students, including special education students, to write through their struggles instead of resorting to inappropriate behavior. FMPS and O’Keeffe teachers have seen the outstanding effects of Spoken Word; the students feel great knowing that their opinion counts and that their unique cultures and traditions are valued in the school and the community.

Watch the video to see the Spoken Word in action.