Poetry of rap_finalized_lesson_plans

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Poetry of rap_finalized_lesson_plans

  1. 1. EXPLORATION SUMMER PROGRAMS DAILY LESSON PLANS Instructor: Patrick McGettigan PCA: Alison Nitzsche Course Number and Title: Poetry of Rap Course Budget: **Note about discussion: At the end of each class, we will have a discussion to debrief the day, talk about what went well, what was challenging, etc. I will describe the format here, and it applies to each subsequent discussion in the plans. - I will post a list of 5-7 questions on the chalkboard, or on a poster somewhere in the room. I will toss a ball to a student, who can choose to answer any of the prompts on the board. He then tosses to the person sitting across from him, who answers the question and then tosses the ball to the person across from him. After each person answers his question, I will open the floor to the rest of the class to add brief additional comments or ask clarifying questions. Day 1- Define and Conquer Essential Question: What are the similarities between rap and poetry? Guiding Questions: What is rap? What is poetry? Objectives  Students will generate working definitions of rap and poetry.  They will define the differences between the two, as well as the similarities. Materials, Tools and Resources  Speakers  Posterboard  Markers Today’s Prep Work
  2. 2. - Create Powerpoint/Pick Songs AT EXPLO - Create posters with the following titles and spread them throughout the room: Rap: Who writes it? Rap: What does it sound like? Rap: What are the lyrics about? Rap: Who listens to it? Poetry: Who writes it? Poetry: What does it sound like? Poetry: What are the lyrics about? Poetry: Who reads it? Create Taboo cards Activities: 1. Course Introduction/Ice Breaker (25 mins) 2. Taboo Activity (10 mins) 3. Poster Definitions (15 mins) 4. Personal Defintions (10 mins) Hook 1. As students walk in, turn on PPT presentation. It features slides with photos of famous rappers, with rap music playing in the background. (3-5 minutes) 2. Once the entire class has gathered, open the class by rapping the instructor’s welcome message. It will include a description of the course, as well as course expectations. ** Make a note to students that some of the course material may contain explicit information. Explain that the objective of listening to such music is not to offend anyone, but to closely examine the differences and similarities between poetry and rap. Explain the open door policy, and that if at any time a student feel uncomfortable, he/she is encouraged to talk to me about it. 3. Each member of the class will then introduce himself, saying his name, hometown, year in school, the last song they listened to, and the last poem they read. Procedure 1. Taboo: One by one, students will draw the name of a rapper or poet from a
  3. 3. basket. The card will include a list of words that the students cannot say in their description. (If they do not recognize the name, they can draw again. There will be 5-7 more names than there are students.) Without saying the name of the artist, but by using phrases, movements and impersonations, the student will represent his given artist. The rest of the class will have to guess who the name on the paper was. The artists on the sheets are the artists that we will be studying throughout the course of the class, so this will provide an introduction to the cast of characters. 2. Poster Definitions: Tell students that one of the first steps of the process of this Mini Course will be to create working definitions of poetry and rap. - Tell students to stand in front of a poster in pairs. (If there are not enough students, I will make fewer posters and have two prompts on some posters. Bottom line, no student will have to complete the activity alone. ) - Tell students that they will have 1 minute at each poster to answer the prompt(s) on that board. They do not have to write in complete sentences, and should use the entire minute to brainstorm and write the answer to the question. The activity will get harder as it progresses, as the posters will already be full of thoughts, but each student must write at least 1 comment on each poster. (Once they have spent a minute at the poster, they will rotate to the next poster) - Once each student has had a chance to write on all of the posters, tell students to stop to rotation. Students will make a brief presentation to the class telling their fellow students about the definition generated on the poster that they are standing at. 4. Regroup the class into a circle and debrief the activity. - Ask each student to share one word that they personally think defines “rap” and one that defines “poetry.” Assessment Students’ definitions will reflect an understanding that rap and poetry have elements based in culture, presentation, rhythm, rhyme, meter and beat. (Hopefully breaking the definition posters into categories will help facilitate this) Closing Students will brainstorm “rap nicknames” for themselves. Just like rappers have stage names that relate to their personalities, hometowns, hobbies, etc, I will encourage the students to develop some as well. Nicknaming will help build community, and get students excited about the content. It may also lend itself to an interesting discussion- the nomanclature of rap! All nicknames must be school appropriate, and the instructor has veto power over anything unfriendly. If you wouldn’t say it in front of
  4. 4. Grandma, it’s probably not ok. Filler Activities Icebreakers: If there is down time, play an icebreaker game that relates to the topic of poetry and rap. Ask students to share their favorite rapper, their favorite song, their first concert, etc. Lesson Plan Citations: Day 2: A Poem by Any Other Name… Essential Question: What are the similarities between poetry and rap? Guiding Questions: What does poetry look like? What does it sound like? Who writes poetry? Why do they write it? What does it mean to you? Objectives Students will read and write poetry that shows an understanding of the stylistic differences present within the poetic community.  The instructor will show students that there is more to poetry than they originally thought. The approach will depend on the definition provided on Day 1, but I have a strong inclination that students will come in expecting poetry to be old, boring, flowery and irrelevant to their daily lives. The instructor should not try to disprove this theory, but simply expand it. Materials, Tools and Resources - Poems, a different one for each member of the class. (I will choose the poem for each student based on the one word that they used to describe poetry on Day 1. The poem they have will attempt to directly challenge their definition.) Selected pre-Explo - TV, DVD Player, “8 Mile” OR - Computer hooked up to TV, YouTube Clip - Lyrics to the rap from the “8 Mile” Clip
  5. 5. Today’s Prep Work  Download all clips to the classroom computer, including YouTube clips, in case the internet cuts out.  - Create Mix Cds (Pre Explo)  Select Appropraite Poems  Select an appropriate clip from “8 Mile” and bring lyrics Activities: 1. 8 Mile, Lyric/Rap Comparison (10 minutes) 2. Poem Upgrade (20 minutes) 3. Poem Presentations (15 minutes) 4. Debrief/Discussion (15 minutes) Hook  Show the selected clip from 8 Mile. If a TV and DVD player are unavailable, show the YouTube link that is already downloaded to the computer.  Distribute the lyrics from the rap shown to the students. Ask for a volunteer to read the lyrics aloud. Specify that the student should read them as if he would read anything else, and that he should not rap the lyrics.  Facilitate a discussion about the difference between rapping the words and speaking them. Questions can include: Did the message change? Which method allowed the message to come through more clearly? What was gained by rapping the words instead of reading them? What did you notice about the words once you read them that you didn’t notice in the rap? Procedure 1. Break the class into Think Tank groups of 4 students each. Distribute a different poem to each group and challenge them to “upgrade” the poem. They cannot change the words, or the order of stanzas, but they must change the style and presentation of the poem. They should use their Think Tank to bounce ideas off of one another. Each group will be assigned a “style” and their remix should fit the characteristics of that style. **During the Think Tank, the instructor should carefully observe how the students interact, and which students assume leadership roles. He will then use this information to create well balanced groups for effective teamwork in later days. 2. Once each group has created their remix, instruct them to make a presentation to the class. Every student must be involved in the presentation, but in different ways. This way, there is no pressure for shy students to perform in front of a group, but it keeps every student active and engaged. After presenting their
  6. 6. poem, the group will explain the process of creating their remix. They will share how they came up with ideas, why they chose to use the format that they did and any other relevant info. All students must speak once during the presentation. 4. Once all of the presentations are finished, facilitate a class-wide discussion about the activity. Potential prompts include: How did remixing the poems change them? Did it change your perspective on poetry? If you are reading the words to a poem in a different way, is it still poetry? What differences did you notice between the groups? Assessment Students will take the reading of the poem in a new direction, one that is audibly and obviously different than it’s original form. Closing We will listen to rap song(s) that have “remixed” an older song themselves. For example, “Gold Digger” by Kanye West. Filler Activities Students will use computers to find a poem that strikes them as “untraditional.” Whatever their notion of poetry is, the poem that they find should challenge it and provide them with a new insight. Lesson Plan Citations: 8 Mile, a film starring Eminem about a young rapper trying to make it big. Day 3, You Can’t Stop the BEAT Essential Questions: What are the similarities between poetry and rap? Guiding Questions: What makes up a beat? Do poems have beats?
  7. 7. Objectives  Students will use current knowledge to create working definitions of rhythm, meter and beat.  Students will actively listen to examples of different rap artists.  Students will create beats based on the rhythm and meter of a poem we’ve read so far.  Students will read a poem over a rap beat. Materials, Tools, Resources: - Course Packet - Computer with Garage Band - Presentation hookup Today’s Prep Work: Familiarize myself with the Garage Band program enough to demonstrate the parts of a beat. Prepare musical tracks to play in class. Activities: 1. Beat Reproduction (10 minutes) 2. Beat Identification (10 minutes) 3. Beat Creation (20 minutes) 4. Presentation (10 minutes) 5. Discussion (10 minutes) Hook I will play examples of the songs that they listened to the night before, but without the words. (I can prepare this on Garage band) Challenge them to perform, as a group, the beat without using any words. They can use their hands, feet or voices to re-produce the beat, but no singing. Procedure 1. Beat Identification: As a group, students will brainstorm what makes up a “beat.” It’s a broad term, and we want to break it down to smaller pieces to gain a better understanding. Students should hit at some main points (tempo, rhythm, bass, melody, harmony, volume) that make up a beat, but the instructor will supplement this information if the students don’t bring it up themselves. Then,
  8. 8. using Garage Band, the instructor will illustrate the concept being discussed. So, when a student mentions tempo, I will use the program to quicken or slow down the tempo. As the activity progresses, students should become more involved with the GarageBand program, and maybe illustrate some of the points themselves. 2. Beat Creation: Break students into pairs. Each pair will then select the name of a poem and will be challenged to create a beat that could play in the background if the poem were being read. Using their hands, feet, pencils, pens, tables, voices and anything else available in the room, they will create the beat and make it cooperate with their assigned poem. The beat should serve to enhance the poem, not just create background noise. (There is no expectation that students will be beatboxing, the exercise will sound more like “Stomp!” than an acapella group) 3. Beat Performance: Each group will perform their beat/poem combination for the class. If both group members are needed for the performance of the beat, they can use a student from another group to read the poem while they hammer out the beat. 4. Discussion: As a class, we will debrief the activity. Prompts include: What was most difficult about making the beat? How did you work to make sure the beat enhanced the poem instead of just creating noise? Is a poem with a beat behind it a song? 5. Ask students to think about the following prompt, “Why my hometown is the best place to live” as they will be engaging in a free write on the topic tomorrow. Also remind them to re-listen to the tracks on their CDs. Assessment Students will present a poem to the rhythm a rap beat to demonstrate the unique musical elements and similarities of rap and poetry. Students will create a beat that enhances the presentation of the poem. Closing We will watch a YouTube clip of Razhel, performing, “If Your Mother Only Knew.” In the clip, Rozelle sings and beat boxes at the same time, a fascinating use of beat, rhythm and harmony. Filler Activities
  9. 9. One student is in charge of keeping a beat, with either his hands or feet, and the rest of the class must imitate him. He can increase the pace, volume etc, and the other students must pay close attention and change as the leader does. Lesson Plan Citations: Rahzel, “If Your Mother Only Knew” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX0sByag4Z4&feature=related Day 4: A Poem in Rap’s Clothing Essential Questions: What is rap? Guiding Questions: What does your poetry sound like? How can you make it your own? Objectives:  Students will turn something that they defined as “poetry” into something that they would define as “rap.” Materials, Tools and Resources  Speakers  Notebooks Today’s Prep Work - Choose groups that balance out personalities, abilities and learning styles. - Find an appropriate hook video Activities: 1. Kelly Tsai Video (5 mins) 2. Free write (15 mins) 3. Collaboration (20 mins) 4. Presentation (10 mins)
  10. 10. 5. Discussion (10 mins) Hook Show a YouTube clip (already downloaded to the computer) of Kelly Tsai, a spoken word performer. This will work to break down the stereotype that poetry is slow, boring and old, and will show students a form of poetry that is more similar to rap. After watching the videos, we will discuss Kelly’s performance (and what it was like to watch her live performance), especially focusing on the idea that her performance was a poetry re-mix, similar to the exercise they completed on Day 3. Procedure 1. After the hook discussion has wrapped, students will have 15 minutes to free write a poem using the prompt from the night before. The poem shouldn’t be more than 8 lines, and can take any style the student chooses. The important thing is that the poem fits the students’ own definition of poetry. The instructor will float to provide assistance if necessary, but this is a largely independent project. 2. Break the students up into groups of 4, taking the strengths and weaknesses of each student into account. Each group will then be assigned to listen to a previously selected rap. Song. The groups will use the beat from their assigned song and the words from their individual compositions to collectively write a rap song. Each student’s free write should serve as a verse, and the group will work to adapt the lyrics to fit the assigned beat. 3. Presentation: One by one, each group will present their collective rap. Each member must be active in the presentation, and students can use the actual music file as the background for their performance. 4. Discussion: Lead a discussion that will hit on the following topics: Did this surprise you? Was it difficult? How did it feel to perform? What would happen if a rapper we know performed lyrics like this? What would happen if a poet we know performed like this? Each student must answer the question: did the poetry become rap because of the way it was performed? Or is it still a poem, just with different background music? Assessment Students writing is not written in traditional rap form, the words are poetic, but the beat and presentation is rap-based. This is similar to the poetry-remix, but this time they have used their own definition of poetry, as demonstrated in their writing. Closing Students will be challenged to present their poem-rap hybrids to other Explo students using what they created in class. They can choose any time or place on the campus, but
  11. 11. they are encouraged to present their project in public for other students to see. Filler Activities Students write a poem in the style of Kelly Tsai. Since they will have already seen her performance, they should be interested in the subject matter and aware of her style. Lesson Plan Citations: Hook, Kelly Tsai: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfdjpqOqZMc Day 5, Sir Mix a Lot…. A Poet? Essential Question: Is rap poetry? Guiding Questions: What makes rap rap? Is it an exploration of lyrics or of beats? Objectives  Students will read and deconstruct the lyrics of rappers past and present.  Students will categorize rap songs and artists as “novelty” “social action” or “boasting” Materials, Tools and Resources - Computers - Garage Band Today’s Prep Work - Choose rap songs that accurately represent the chosen styles - Select classical music Activities:
  12. 12. 1. Lyrics Sharing (15 mins) 2. Lyrics Analysis (10 mins) 3. Classical Music Meets Rap activity (20 mins) 4. Discussion (15 mins) Hook Students will think of their favorite song based on lyrics. In making the decision, they should not focus on the sound, style, beat, etc, but solely on the lyrical value of the piece. They will then share their favorites with the group as an introduction to the topic of the importance of lyrics. Procedure 1. Students will take 1-2 minutes to think of their favorite song, but they must make the decision based solely off of its lyrics. Be sure to explain this mildly confusing topic thoroughly. Ask for students to volunteer to share the name of the song and the reason that they like its lyrics. 2. Students will be divided into teams (different from the day before) and will read the lyrics to three rap songs. Each group will have a different group of lyrics, and each group of lyrics will represent a rap theme. The rap themes are, Boasting , Social Action , Novelty and Battle. However, the students will not know the official names of these themes in advance. After reading the lyrics, they must decide as a group what was the overlying message that their group of lyrics conveyed. 3. Each group will take turns at a boom box stationed throughout the room. The boom box will have a CD with classical music tracks burned onto it, and students will read the lyrics to rap songs over the background music. While one student is reading, the other students will record two thoughts that they have about the pairing of rap lyrics and classical poetry. This will help them to totally remove the idea of “rap” from their minds, and allow them to focus on the poetry. 4. While they are not completing the classical music activity, the other groups will brainstorm about rap songs that are not poetic, in their opinion. They can look for them online, and show videos/lyrics to the class- but only if they also explain what specifically about the song makes it un-poetic to them Assessment By classifying the different styles of rap, students will break the stereotype that rap is offensive, degrading and lacking in artistic ability. By reading the lyrics over a classical song, students will separate the lyrics from the beat and understand that rap lyrics often have poetic value.
  13. 13. Closing Students will be challenged to share what they learned with someone in their dorm. It can be as simple as pointing out that they discovered new poetic value in a rap song, but they will “pay forward” their experience in the class. Filler Activities Students will present the “unpoetic” elements that they found to the class. Lesson Plan Citations: Day 6, What do Beowulf and Eminem have in common? Essential Question: Is rap poetry? Guiding Questions: Can rap be a dialogue between two people? What about rap makes it poetry or not? Objectives Students will use their understanding of beats and lyrics to create a rap dialogue that they will perform in “battle” form. Materials, Tools, Resources: - Material from Beowulf - Video of a rap battle Today’s Prep Work: - Prepare Beowulf and rap battle for Intro Activity - Select appropriate conflicts for the rap battles Activities:
  14. 14. 1. Two Forms of Boasting (10 mins) 2. Create rap battles (30 mins) 3. Perform rap battles (10 mins) 4. Discussion (10 mins) Hook  Choose a selection from “Beowulf” that exemplifies boasting in poetry. Ask a student to read the selection dramatically, highlighting the emotion and intensity of the work.  Watch a clip from ‘8 Mile’ or a similar film.  Lead a short discussion about the differences and similarities between the two forms of boasting that we saw. Procedure 1. Break students into pairs, and assign them an Explo or pop culture related topic/debate that the students are extremely familiar with. Example, “Which dorm is best” or “Angelina Jolie v. Jennifer Aniston.” Challenge the students to create a dialogue, similar to the ones seen in Beowulf and 8 Mile that use rap as the form of communication. They will work together to create a conversation between two sides, using their own definition of rap as the barometer. If they believe that rap is a form of poetry, they can use a classically poetic style. But if they believe that rap is simply fast moving words set to music, they can use that as their style as well. Each person will write two mini raps, and they will alternate in presentation. 2. Students will present their battles to the class, and will tell their fellow students what they found to be the most difficult part about translating the dialogue into the language of rap. 3. The end of the day discussion will focus on boasting and communication. Prompts include: Is boasting found more in poetry or rap? Why? What other forms or music or writing use dialogue as a style? Were the rap battles poetic? Assessment For the students, this will be more than a novelty rap battle. They will exhibit the styles discussed and effectively use their beats to add to the presentation. Closing - Students will research famous poetic rivalries. Now that they have seen that rappers often have feuds with one another, they should decide whether or not poets face the same
  15. 15. challenge. Filler Activities - Students will write a rap, or poem, chastising modern rappers for taking their rap battles too far. The work should highlight the point of a rap battle, and that some modern rappers have lost sight of this. Lesson Plan Citations: Day 7, Is that your final answer? Essential Question: Is rap poetry? Guiding Questions: What makes rap poetry? What makes it not? Objectives: Students will answer, using reasons gained in the course, the question; “Is rap poetry.” Materials, Tools, Resources: - Computer, TV Today’s Prep Work: - Create Hook video Activities: 1. Intro Video: (5 mins) 2. Reflection (3 mins) 3. Group Write (25 mins) 4. Presentation (10 mins) 5. Discussion: (17 mins) Hook I will create and play a slideshow of the mini-course. Using pictures from each day of class, music created by students, and clips of rap battles, we will review the course material in a quick video.
  16. 16. Alternate hook: We will listen to the spoken word artist, “The Commencement” (a UVa grad!) who combines rap and poetry into fascinating spoken word music. After the song, we will talk about what qualities made the song “rap” and which qualities made it poetry. Procedure 1. Instruct students to take three minutes of reflection with music playing in the background. Students will create a web summarizing the things that they’ve discovered through the previous classes, and will create two lists; one with facts supporting rap as a form of poetry, and the other disputing it. Each list should include at least 3 facts to support the claim. If time allows, students will share their facts with a classmate. 2. Divide the class into two groups. Instruct students that one team will work together to write a poem saying that rap is NOT poetry. The other will write a rap asserting that it is. The answers must include three reasons to support the claim and an auditory, instrumental beat. The beat should be created using human instruments and voice (stomp-esque), and every group member must participate in the presentation, either as a speaker or a beat keeper. 3. After the first group makes their presentation, the second will respond. 4. As a group, we will discuss take-away points. Each person will share something that he/she will take away from the course, and how taking this course has shaped the way they view poetry or rap. At the end of the class, each person must answer the question, “IS POETRY RAP?” Assessment Students will express their opinion using all of the skills that they’ve learned throughout the week. Closing We will brainstorm ways to take what we learned out of the classroom. Similar to the Day 3 challenge, students will think of ways that they can tell their classmates about the mini course. Whether it be through performance, or flyering, or simple word of mouth, we will brainstorm and follow through with a project that we can complete after the class is over. Ideally, we will be able to present at Explopalooza! Filler Activities Students will write a rap/poem (depending on their original assignment) that supports the
  17. 17. opposite argument than the one that they already argued. So, the group that supported rap as poetry will then write to oppose it, and vice versa. Lesson Plan Citations:

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