This lesson can be used in an English classroom or a Socials Studies classroom. The lesson provides
students with a social, emotional and environmental look into the bombing of Pearl Harbor through
spoken word poetry. It can be used as an introduction to issues surrounding the 2nd world war, a way
to wrap up a unit or concept previously discussed in class or can be used as a stand-alone lesson.
Objectives /
Spoken word poem “Hiroshima” by Sarah Kay
In class Poster Activity
Students will be able to define and explain spoken word poetry and the idea of
Students will be able to provide analyses of 5 quotes found within the spoken
word “Hiroshima” and describe why these quotes are important
Copies of “Hiroshima” by Sarah Kay
Video of Sarah Kay reciting her poem
Classroom Schedule (80 min)
Introducing spoken word poetry (5 min)
Introduce the concept of spoken word poetry and get
students to think of what it could mean
Provide students with the definition of spoken word
poetry and why it is used (written on a page but performed
for an audience)
Tell students that spoken word poetry often carries with it
a large amount of emotion. The transitions between ideas
are usually smooth and have a rhythm to keep flow.
There is also a lot of improvisation in spoken word poetry
since it is meant to be performed. The poem I will be
handing out to you will not match the exact words of the
speaker since she has modified the poem on the spot
Reading/Listening to Hiroshima (25-30 min)
Provide students with the poem “Hiroshima” by Sarah
Provide students with context -> ask students what they
know about the bombing of Hiroshima and then add
additional context information to set the stage for the
Play a video of Sarah Kay reciting her poem while getting
students to follow along
Get students to pay attention to her attitude, gestures and
change in tone when she is speaking and what this could
mean. What power comes from hearing her recite this
poem as opposed to just reading it?
- Can students understand the
concept of spoken word poetry
and why it is effective?
- Are students able to
understand how the poem ties
to the context of Hiroshima?
- Are students paying attention
to the actions, attitude and
tones of the speaker?
While watching the video, circle or underline any parts of
the poem that you do not understand or are confused
Get students to turn to the people around them and share
- How did they feel? What did they think of Sarah Kay’s
speech? What was Sarah Kay struggling against?
- Can students tie these ideas to
the messages and ideas behind
the poem?
- Do students understand
Play the video again
This time, students should focus on finding the main
messages behind the poem and how these messages are
Elicit main messages/ideas and how they are strengthened
from students
Discuss why might a poem be more powerful than images
of Hiroshima? Why is one person’s death sometimes more
horrific than 1000+ people dying (for example, hearing
about this on the news vs. hearing about a loved one
dying) and how does this relate to EMPATHY – ability to
understand/share feelings
Poster Representation (35-40)
Tell students that they are now going to create a poster
representation of the poem in groups of 4
On this poster, students will choose and focus on 4 quotes
taken from the poem that best showcase the themes and
the emotions behind the poem
For each quote, students must create a visual
representation that ties to the quote and 3 points that
explain the importance of these quotations and how they
deepen the messages behind the poem
Tell students that they can choose their own groups of 4
and if you see someone without a group be sure to include
Tell students that everyone in the group be working. Once
the group has found a couple quotations, 2 group
members should look for more while the other 2 group
members should work on explaining the importance of
these quotations
You will be given a mark out of 20:
5 for neatness and structure
5*2 for quality of quotations and explanations of
5 for creativity and use of images
Conclusion (5 min)
- Can students display their
knowledge in the form of a
poster and can students find
impactful quotes and explore
Elicit what we have completed today
Re-elicit what spoken word poetry is and the role it plays
Get students to choose the most significant/powerful
quote they used for their poster
Elicit these quotes and why they are important