Our Specific Objectives

  • Discussion of potent social, psychological and cultural topics

  • Relevant and innovative poetic devices accompany each discussion

  • New vocabulary is presented to students to contribute to their robust articulation

  • Verbal and physical performance techniques are utilized to hone public speaking skills

  • Students gain technical experience with camera and film editing

  • Film directors attain knowledge of shot lists, B Roll, prop usage, and storyboarding

  • Slam team students compete in a minimum of 3 competitions and 2 community events

  • Assembly performances reach 3,000 students per year and speak the life blood of urban artistic culture.   

Accomplishments of programs
Digital Storytellers projects have been serving Bay Area youth for 7 years. Our in class residencies have brought spoken word poetry to over 3,400 youth. Our culminating events provide a space for triumph to grow wings from the mouths of burgeoning young artists who lead the way for their generation. We produce poetry films that carry these messages through the internet, onto screens and into the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Our vision is to facilitate spaces for young people to create art in the form of spoken word poetry, to fashion this art into media in the form of film and to send these films into the world.
Our Education model
We base our teaching practices on the critical educational model as put forth by Paulo Freire in ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’. Through this model we take a stand on leveling the playing field in the classroom where student and teacher share an equal stake of power; where the oppressive elements of all institutions are the subject of poetic inquiry and where we seek to learn more about the triumphs and struggles within each other’s diverse backgrounds.
Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Our commitment to culturally relevant curriculum is the backbone to our education model. We adapt every residency based on the work of our students and create a classroom atmosphere that is reflective of each contribution put forward by our courageous young writers. Each voice is heard and the information we present is based on this input, we strive to keep ear and heart open while reading student poems and conducting classroom discussion in order to allow the youth of today to tell us what is culturally relevant for them.
Workshop topics
Our workshop topics seek to lead students in the discovery of how they are affected by historical oppression, how gender norms are often toxic social constructions, how the mainstream media often promotes ideas based on what is financially lucrative rather than humanly beneficial, how cycles of violence occur at a micro and macro level all around us every day and how we can proclaim our natural strengths and cultural emplacements of power with courage and charisma, etc.

Our school has been working with Digital Storytellers for several years now and we have never been disappointed! Their team comes with timely, appropriate themes prepared with the current needs of our site. The poets have fresh, lively, thought provoking, courageous content in their performances, our students are always engaged and it opens up conversations around the school afterward. The variety of performers means that there is something for everyone.  We truly appreciate the exposure to their art that they bring to our students!

Seana Condit-Gordon

Principal, Bret Harte Middle School, Hayward

Digital Storytellers provided my students the opportunity to authentically bring their personal experiences into an academic setting at a level not usually achieved in the classroom. Students developed a strength of voice and validation of self that transformed how they engaged with writing assignments, both poetry and otherwise. The residency unearthed talent and interest in many students who did not previously know or act on their own inner strength. It was quite special to be able to see these traits brought to light for my students.

Natalie Fensterstock

English teacher, Leadership Public School, Richmond

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