Homage to our French class in slam poetry

After watching and analyzing a slam poem by Grand Corps Malade (GCM) about his Parisian suburb “Saint Denis“, I gave my AP students two choices:

1)  Create your own slam poetry in French on the theme of cultural diversity

2) Suggest an event to bring the various ethnic groups of Saint Denis together

To be honest, I was secretly hoping that they would choose the Slam poetry, yet at the same time I was trying to prepare myself for the fact that not many would. I have already blogged about how awesome my seniors are and once again, they completely exceeded my expectations. Not only half the class prepared a poem, all of their poems blew me away by their thoughtfulness and the quality of their language.

One slam really hit close to home for me. One of my students borrowed Grand Corps Malade’s style and rhythm to create an homage to our French class.  Not only did he capture the diversity and spirit of our class, he actually portrayed with finesse several aspects of my teaching philosophy, e.g. when he says “Les histoires des étudiants sont plus importantes que les devoirs qu’ils font” (Students stories are more important than the homework they do).

With his permission, I am publishing his slam poetry on my blog. I suggest you first listen to GSM’s homage to Saint Denis. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Personally, I keep listening to it over and over (:


Enfant-de-la-ville-by-grand-corps-maladeimage credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/63/Enfant-de-la-ville-by-grand-corps-malade.jpg


  1. Merci. Effectivement Jonathan est brillant et je savoure chaque jour les multiples talents de toute sa classe. Merci de m’avoir appris cette expression “de la balle” que je ne connaissais pas!

  2. I LOVE this activity and would love to use it in my own students this year. I am a French teacher in Columbia, MD. Do you have a prompt or rubric that accompanies this task that you would be willing to share via email? Thank you in advance- Saint-Denis and Grands Corps Malade are an awesome discovery!

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