Friday, June 3, 2011

Rap Star Eminem Teaches Literature
OK, so I used the title to hook you in, but Eminem does really play an active role in this post....

As educators, we hear the phrases technology integration and student engagement all the time. What we find is that creating lessons which are able to do both in more than an artificial manner is hard to do. However, while checking the copier I came across Tony Carrick's (7/8 Literature) unit outline for the topic of assonance and internal rhyme. I found an incredible piece of teaching: student engagement and technology integration combined in a way that immediately hooked the students: through rap music. I'll let Tony take it from here:

This lesson plan involves students learning the difficult concept of assonance by using Garage Band to help them assemble rap. Internal rhyme and assonance are heavily used by rappers to create repeating sounds in their lyrics that makes their music, for lack of a better term, catchy. Few rappers are better at this then Eminem. We begin by discussing the basic definition of assonance (assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in a poem in words that do not rhyme) and looking at a few examples. We then move into an analysis of some select lyrics (select meaning only the clean ones) from Eminem that feature assonance. After analyzing these examples, students then begin to list words that are assonant to each other. They then use this list to create a short rap that mixes internal rhyme with assonance. The challenge of this is to create raps that use an abundance of assonance but still make sense. After students have written a rap, we then incorporate GarageBand. Students use the “loops” section of GarageBand to mix together stock Hip Beats and baselines to create music for their rap. The final step is for students to add a vocal track of them rapping their rap.

So students have internalized assonance and internal rhyme through a topic that this is interesting to them, while creating digital content that is all their own. This is 21st century learning. Check out some of the tunes below.


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