Ransom Poetry is a GREAT activity for any of your speakers (or debaters) to flex their creativity and do an impromptu performance. This exercise is a perfect fit for anyone looking to engage in a creative and linguistic challenge.
This activity is versatile and can be adapted for speakers and debaters across all skill levels, enhancing their abilities to think creatively and perform spontaneously.
- Creative Linguistic Skills: Develop the ability to craft messages with a limited set of words, enhancing word choice and message clarity.
- Impromptu Speaking: Strengthen improvisational speaking skills through the spontaneous creation and presentation of poetry.
- Public Speaking and Performance: Provide a platform for students to practice and refine their public speaking and performance abilities.
Preparation: Before engaging in this activity, gather as many magazines, newspapers, or other recycled print materials as possible. You’ll also need a class set of scissors and some glue or tape.
Introduction and Demonstration: To set up your students, show them an example of a Ransom Poem, asking a volunteer to read it aloud to provide clear insight into what the end product might look like.
Poem Creation: Give your students up to thirty minutes to create their own “Ransom Poem” using only the words from the provided print materials. Optionally, provide a theme, such as a debate topic for advanced students or a character trait for younger students, to guide their creations.
Sharing and Discussion: After the poems are created, have students share their poems one by one. If time is limited, consider having them share with a partner before selecting a few for classwide presentation. This part of the activity is a great introduction to conversations about word choice, word economy, or more complex performances such as POI.
Reflection: Conclude with a reflection on the process, inviting students to discuss how the activity may have shifted their approach to language and creativity.
- Ensure there is a wide variety of print materials to cater to different interests and provide a rich source of words.
- Encourage students to think about the flow and rhythm of their poems, not just the meaning of the words.
Use this activity as a precursor to a lesson on rhetorical devices and their impact on speeches and debates.
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