Monday, December 05, 2005

Here you go!

(No word yet: A 311 inspector is supposed to be at our house this morning, but I haven't heard anything yet. Keep your fingers crossed that the lights will come on today!)

My song lesson is as follows:
I started by having the class remind us about how NOT to start one's essay: "Hi, my name is..." or "In this essay I will...." all that nonsense. And I yelled out, "Don't EVER DO THAT. EVER EVER NEVER EVER. NEVER!!"

Then I told them that there were five songs they had to listen to and decipher what strategy the song used to pull in the reader and engage them in the topic.
First up is "The Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog. The first line says (so they have to listen carefully to hear the lyrics) "Why are there so many songs about rainbows?" Which is a question.

The second song is "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" by Simon & Garfunkel. The first line is "I'd rather be a spider than a snail." That is an example of a bold and challenging statement.

Third is "What it feels like for a Girl" by Madonna. It has the talking at the beginning, which means it's an example of using a quotation. On my chart I have the quotation: "You haven't lived until you've lived in London."

Fourth is "Downtown" by Petula Clark. The beginning stanza has a whole bunch of lines describing the scene in the city: the lights are bright, the music of the traffic, the pretty neon signs, etc. It's a Snapshot/Personal experience.

Last is the song from Rent that starts, Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes..." Which is a statistic.

Once we finish the songs, I tell them to practice by rewriting the intro of a recent essay using each of the five strategies. So they end up with five short separate intros. We didn't get to finish, but most of the kids had at least two or three. We'll finish/revisit this later on this week.

Fun lesson, huh? :)


Rebecca said...

That's awesome!

This is still something I think about whenever I have to write an essay for a class or an application-- I think of it as trying to come an "angle," a way to approach the topic to really make it my own instead of just blah.

Nancy said...

If I repeat middle school, will you be my teacher? :P
But, in all seriousness, had you already discussed with them the strategies that a writer can use to open an introduction, or they deduced them just from listening to the songs?