April 28: Simile Slam at League Academy

graphic with a butterfly and a bee for SCETV Simile Slam

This April, celebrate National Poetry Month with ETV and have a 'slam'ming good time with our airing of SCETV Simile Slam at League Academy on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.!

This special event spotlights students performing their own poetry featuring similes inspired by the life of Muhammad Ali.

You’ve probably heard of a poetry slam, but a simile slam? In the fall of 2021, ETV Education held a contest asking middle and high school teachers to submit proposals for conducting a simile slam at their school in support of the Ken Burns PBS documentary Muhammad Ali. A simile slam is the same as a poetry slam, however in recognition of Ali's perhaps most famous saying, and certainly his most famous simile, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”, we requested a simile slam.  A common descriptive tool used in poetry, a simile is a type of figurative language that compares two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”, as Ali did when he compared his boxing style to the popular insects. Other simile examples include "as fresh as a daisy", "as gentle as a lamb", and of course, the famous Forrest Gump line, "Life is like a box of chocolates."

Our contest requirements included a lesson plan for teaching poetry and student videos demonstrating their vision of a simile slam. The winner of the contest was Sarah Monson’s eighth grade English Language Arts class at League Academy in Greenville, SC. In November 2021, Mrs. Monson’s eighth grade class held the official simile slam which was hosted by Kimberly Simms Gibbs, a teaching artist, writer, and the manager of SmartARTS, a partnership program between Greenville County Schools and the Metropolitan Arts Council. Twenty students recited their original poetry that included similes and encompassed Muhammad Ali’s six core principles for living: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. Presided over by five judges, the top four winners were selected based on their scoring.

Why not get your class in on the fun too? Host your own simile slam and then tune in to our ETV HD channel Thursday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. for this unique event! You can also stream live online via scetv.org/watch-scetv-live.

We'd love to hear your ideas for using this resource in your learning environment; please let us know at etveducation@scetv.org