Poets With Class, Chicago Slam Works’ educational initiative, offers a unique pedagogy, equally emphasizing the craft of the written word and the creative process of performance. Both elements work hand-in-hand to empower and engage students of all ages. Whether after school or in the classroom, through dynamic and original lesson plans, our poetry workshops build confidence, literacy and an appreciation for the fine arts.

Interested in assembly programming? We got you covered! Looking for a fun and enlightening workshop to add to your teacher’s symposium or in-service? We do that, too! Download our brochure and meet our Teaching Artists to learn more about what makes Poets With Class a popular and effective classroom enrichment activity. We currently offer specialized programming to fit any school and engage even the most reluctant learners from 2nd grade to High School. Whether you’re looking for a Standard Single Day or an Full Week Intensive, a week of poetry workshops and performances that culminates in an awesome student slam, our teaching artists will deliver a great experience.


  • Black History, Women’s History, & National Poetry Month (Grades 2-12)
  • ReBoot: Poetry On It’s Feet (Grades 5-12)
  • Launch Into Literacy (Grades 2-5)
  • Voices of Chicago (Grades 5-12)
  • Shoot For The Stars (Grades 2-5)
  • We Built This City: Multicultural & Interfaith (Grades 2-12)

While Chicago Slam Works teaches the fundamentals of poetry composition, students don’t simply sit at their desks and stare at the board. Our teaching artists believe in “putting poetry on its feet” by engaging students as well as teachers in theater games, vocal exercises and movement techniques as a means of unlocking creativity and making poetry fun again. The Poets With Class roster of teaching artists boasts some of Chicago’s most accomplished writers and performers, all of whom have extensive backgrounds in theater, poetry and education.

In addition to our commitment to craft, Chicago Slam Works strongly believes in using poetry to build understanding in diverse communities. Our individual and interactive exercises work to unify the classroom as students recognize their similarities and differences, while strengthening their communication and social skills. This approach provides the tools kids need to increase understanding and to interact with each other more effectively.

Our programming helps teachers fulfill both Illinois and Chicago Public School (CPS) Common Core English Language and Fine Arts requirement standards. Whether you’re looking for a one-day workshop or full-year residency, Poets With Class will work with you to create a custom classroom or after-school program for students of all levels of aptitude and experience.

Mojdeh Stoakley

Outreach Coordinator