“If you don’t make your students memorize poems, try it. The transformation will astound you.”

— Sina Queyras

Professor, anthology poet, Poetry In Voice judge

School Contest

Refer to our School Contest checklist to keep you organized. Click on the headings below for more information.

Do your students want to compete in teams? You can check out this lesson plan and contact Poetry In Voice to see if a Team Regional event is planned in your area.

 

CLASSROOM WINNERS CHOOSE A SECOND POEM

The winner from each classroom is asked to memorize and recite two poems. Students should select poems of varied style, time period, and voice. Diversity in their selections will offer a richer and more complete performance.

When a student chooses a second poem, they also choose their competition stream:

  • 1st poem in English + 2nd poem in English = English stream*
  • 1st poem in English + 2nd poem in French = Bilingual stream
  • 1st poem in French + 2nd poem in English = Bilingual stream
  • 1st poem in French + 2nd poem in French = French stream*

*A student in the English stream or in the French stream at the Online Semifinals must meet certain criteria with their poem selections. A student participating in one of these streams at the school contest may want to take these requirements into account when choosing a second poem.

ONE, TWO, OR THREE SCHOOL CHAMPIONS?

A school can name one champion per prize stream: one English champion, one Bilingual champion, and one French champion. 

Ask your colleagues to identify the competition stream of each classroom champion so that you can organize the contest accordingly. A student competing in the English stream only competes against other students in the English stream, and so on.

SCHEDULE THE CONTEST

  • Allow enough time between your school contest and this year’s Online Semifinals deadline to ensure there’s time for:

    - an English or French school champion to learn a third poem

    - you and your school champion(s) to film and upload their recitation videos

  • Decide whether to hold the contest during the day and invite classes to watch or after school.
  • Choose an appropriate venue for the size of your event, like an auditorium or library.
  • Whenever possible, have students recite using a microphone on a stand. This will be good practice for any student who advances to the National Finals, where a microphone will be used.
  • Each recitation takes about three to four minutes (depending on the poems chosen) and judges typically take one minute after a recitation to evaluate. Once all the recitations are finished, the final tally to determine your school champion(s) might take a few extra minutes.
  • If you expect your school contest to exceed two hours, consider holding grade-level contests first.

GET THE WORD OUT

Let the community know how proud you are of your reciters — whether they’re competing in your classroom or at your school contest, the Online Semifinals, or the National Finals.

Here are some tips on how to maximize Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools:

Twitter

  • Set up a free Twitter account for your school or classroom. Remember to use the following Poetry In Voice hashtags when tweeting or searching: #recite2017 (in French and English) to announce your school champions and to track other news leading up to the 2017 National Finals, and #poemoftheweek to view or comment on our poem of the week (#poèmedelasemaine to view our weekly French poem)
  • Don’t forget to include @PIV_LVP in your tweets so that we can thank you and retweet your news to other participants and poetry enthusiasts.
  • Follow us on Twitter in English or French: @PIV_LVP for news and updates about the competition.

Facebook

  • Set up a Facebook page for Poetry In Voice at your school. Include updates on classes that are participating, school contest dates, student winners, and favourite poems from our anthology.
  • Be sure to like us on our Facebook page, where you can connect to other schools and poetry lovers through our posts.

Blogs

  • Encourage teachers to post Poetry In Voice assignments and results on their blogs. Schools can post updates on Poetry In Voice school contests on the school blog.
  • If video sharing is allowed at your school, classes can view and share their favourite recitation videos from the Poetry In Voice video gallery with other students and the local media to promote poetry recitation.

STAFF THE CONTEST

Depending on the size of your school’s contest and the streams in which students are competing, you’ll need to recruit volunteers to fill the following roles:

3 judges + 1 accuracy judge

A group of teachers may serve as judges, or you could invite local poets, actors, professors, arts reporters, or members of the school board to judge. Judges should have some knowledge of poetry, but they don’t need to be experts. The accuracy judge should mark missed or incorrect words during the recitation.

If you have any students competing in the Bilingual stream or the French stream, you’ll need additional French-language judges.

Prompter

The prompter will sit near the front of the stage and prompt students who get stuck on a line. Show students where the prompter is sitting before the contest begins.

Tabulator

During the competition, the tabulator should track judges’ scores, so that no time is wasted totaling scores after the recitations are finished.

MC

An MC will guide the competition from start to finish. The MC can provide welcoming remarks, introduce judges and students, and announce winners. The MC could provide biographic information about the poets or competing students (which you would need to have prepared) between recitations.

Music or musicians (optional)

Between recitations, as judges are filling in their evaluation sheets, you could play live or recorded music.

PREPARE THE PAPERWORK

A week before the event

Send each performance judge and accuracy judge:

  • a copy of the Judge’s Guide, which contains our evaluation materials
  • links to the poems that will be recited
  • optional: links to recitation videos on our website, so they can see what recitation is all about and practise evaluating performances prior to your event

For the school contest

Assemble an event package for each member of your contest staff.

For the performance judges:

  • Evaluation Sheets (with each student’s name and recited poem indicated)

For the accuracy judge(s):

  • the poems in the order they will be recited
  • Accuracy score sheets (with each student’s name and recited poem indicated)

For the prompter:

  • the poems in the order they will be recited

For the MC:

  • a list of students’ names in the order of recitation and any other pertinent information     

RUN THE CONTEST

The event should proceed in rounds: Each student recites their first poem and then each recites their second poem.

After each poem is recited, the performance judges and the accuracy judge complete their evaluation sheets for that student and pass the sheets on to the tabulator. Judges should not discuss the scores they give with one another and they cannot modify scores once they turn them in.

NAME AND CELEBRATE YOUR SCHOOL CHAMPION(S)

Depending on the students’ chosen streams, you might name one, two, or three school champions. It’s a good idea to name a runner-up in each stream in case a champion is unable to continue to the Online Semifinals.

We have certificates of participation for you to print and fill in. You may want to give your champion(s) a small prize, such as a poetry anthology or blank journal.