Week 11: Sharing Our Voices


  • Today is about sharing, practicing performance techniques, and voting.
  • We’ll each read our Deepest (original, vivid, and fearless) piece aloud with confidence and courage. We’ll practice speaking clearly and with appropriate pacing and emphasis for the piece. Then we’ll each vote on the three best pieces to represent our workshop onstage at Deep Speaks and be in the running for Deep Laureate!
  • Fellows will tally the votes privately and digitally submit the top three to Deep staff. Submit votes here. There is also opportunity for fellows to nominate two extra pieces they feel should be in the running for Laureate. Deep staff will then review and internally vote.
  • Roughly 3-4 weeks after workshops end, Ed Fellows will announce three Deep Speaks readers. As fellows, you are encouraged to call your kids to congratulate them, too! Watch for an official email from Deep staff.

Today’s goal

  • Celebrate becoming a published author! Have a party, read your best work to the group, and vote for the next Laureate.

Target exercise ideas

  • Review the differences between a piece of writing and a human being. Today we’re voting for the writing, not the author her/himself.
  • Explore the voting ballot together. Come up with collective definitions of “original”, “vivid”, and “fearless” before you begin reading and voting.
  • Model terrible stage presence and reading, then let the kids critique your performance. Be dramatic. Kids love it. Ask them for pointers, then wow them with a great example! Get them psyched about Deep Speaks!

Reading ideas

  • Instead of reading, listen to/watch great performers, then discuss what they do well.
  • Watch Patricia Smith perform her poem, “When the Burning Begins” 
  • “Totally Like Whatever You Know” by Taylor Mali 

 Writing prompt ideas

  • Fill out your ballot to nominate pieces for Deep Speaks! Do not vote for your own. Remember, we are ranking the writing, not the people. This isn’t a popularity contest.

Sharing/performance ideas

  • Before Deep authors read their best pieces to the group and voting begins, warm everyone up by trying one or two of these performance exercises meant to lift energy, warm up their vocal chords, and bond as a group. As youth authors read, guide them on projection and make sure they are reading with confidence.
  • From the Mountain Top: Hand Deep authors copies of the pieces they plan to perform and ask them to line up, almost shoulder to shoulder. Identify a point across the room where they can quickly run to and begin reading their piece with as much emotion as possible. When you call the next author, the previous one will race back to their point in the line. Do this with each author and then call multiple authors at the same time, ending with everyone reading their pieces in a thunderous fervor.
  • Battle Cry: Spend the first 5 minutes of workshop co-creating a chant or call-and-response battle cry meant to get everyone hype and excited. For example, writing fellows in one group yelled, “Don’t stop!” and Deep authors responded, “ Get it, get it!”  Repeat this a couple of times together before reading begins and after each author shares to keep the room buzzing with energy.