Two additional lesson plans
So, after searching the web for some time, I found a number of good starts for lesson plans, as well as some lesson plans that I wasn't a big fan of. One that stuck out to me was VH1's large number of lesson plans for lessons that accompany episodes of behind the music. I just can't think of a situation where in the english classroom, I'd want to teach all the students lessons about one particular musician's life. I think that as I've thought through the readings for this course, I primarily want to use pop music as a means of teaching students how to work on textual analysis skills, and as a means of unlocking particular kinds of self-reflections from them.
So here are two more ideas for lesson plans:
Lesson One: Music and Identity
Rationale: Many creative writing lessons attempt to give students a good sense of how to reflect on their own lives with writing and critical thinking. I think that by creating a lesson where students attempt to use creative writing to come up with an original work inspired by one of their favorite pieces of pop music to reflect one particular insight about their lives.
Materials: Handout on poetic devices, and measuring meter of poems.
Instructions: Give students an assignment to bring in the lyrics to a song that is significant to them; in class, have students identify poetic devices used in the poem that either help the meaning of the poem, or that set the music apart as a unique piece of poetry. This lesson may take two days, with the first day on analyzing the msuic that the students bring in. On the second day, the students will be expected to write at least eight lines of a poem about a particular issue in their own life in the style of the song that they've brought in.
Grading: Fifteen points for analysis of the poem; five for identifying major poetic devices; five for hypothesizing which poetic devices set the poem apart from others; five for effort put into the work, students who do not use class time to complete the analysis will lose these points. The poem itself will be fifteen points as well; five for using poetic devices identified from other poem, five points for having at least eight lines, five points for originality - students will recieve this unless the poem they turn in shows no effort to make a poem on their own.
Lesson Two: Teaching how to perform scansion and poetry analysis using pop music
Rationale: During my observations at a public high school, I attempted to help the students perform scansion on lines from Shakespeare in order to show them how iambic pentameter functioned in Shakespeare's blank verse. The students had never performed scansion on poetry before, and although they'd been given opportunities to write free verse, the student's weren't comfortable analyzing someone else's poetry, or use traditional poetry terms to talk about devices used within the poetry.
Materials: Lyrics to 4 Songs voted on in class. Printouts of Various Poetic devices. Desks clustered in Groups
Plan: Take five minutes in class to conduct an anonymous poll of favorite song, each student will write theirs on a scrap of paper; pick top four options and find lyrics online, printout one copy of each songs lyric one per group. EAch group will have a sheet of poetic devices that I will make from materials I have from undergraduate courses, and will be tasked with finding at least five poetic devices in each song and present those devices to the class after ten minutes of discussion.
Grading: Each student will keep a note sheet on the work their group is done which will be collected at the end of class. If they fill it out completely, they will recieve ten points. If they fill it out partially, they will recieve five points. If group members report a group member is not working, that group member will recieve half to no credit depending on the situation.
Purpose: By introducing students to poetry terms with music that they enjoy listening to or are at least familiar with, I think it will be easier to move on to poetry analysis with more traditionally taught poems that has language that may be unfamiliar, or the poems might not be the kinds of works that students even ejnjoy reading. This lesson would serve as an introduction to poems that cause students trouble, like shakespeare, or milton, etc.