Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Where I'm From

An illustration of how an activity can bomb in one class and rock in another:

My first year teaching I adapted a unit that my wonderful student teaching mentors developed: Using the poem "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon as a mentor text, students write their own poem by brainstorming, drafting, and then writing numerous consecutive drafts until it is a well-polished piece of work.

I decided to add a second mentor text option: The song "Where I'm From" by the hip-hop group Digable Planets.

By the time the song ended on my little CD player, the students were looking at me and each other like, "Who is this crazy lady and what is this strange music?" It was one of those terrifying first-year moments when the class reacts exactly the opposite of how you expected and you are at a loss of how to proceed.

I was brave enough to try the assignment again this year with a class I thought would be more receptive. The benefit of a bit of experience paid off. After we spent quite a long time reading and discussing the poem, they got to see the YouTube video of the song. They got so excited about making their own version. Today a student asked me, "What was the name of that group again?" and then wrote it down so he could remember.


Hector said...

That's sort of the same the way i heard about them. I was looking at my teachers play list and i was all like "who are these fool's?" She told me about them, let me listen to them from her ipod and now i also have them on my own ipod.

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