Sunday, November 9, 2014

When Lyrics Mean More Than The Song

One of the pivotal moments that helped reaffirm my mission to teach occurred while watching "Dangerous Minds." At that time in life, I was teaching in a rural area that was the crossroads between four major drug cities in the US. I encountered inner city problems, while receiving a rural community salary.

One of the scenes that struck home was when Michele Pfeiffer brought out Dylan lyrics to teach author's purpose and comprehension. The students had to interpret meaning from the words that were easily overlooked by millions of fans listening to the music.

Fast forward 20 years, and I find myself in a similar situation. The dangers my students face today are much worse than the obstacles facing the students of  the 1990's. I strive to promote unity, and a sense of family for my kids. Many not only lack a stable home, but also lack any type of parental figure due to our widespread drug epidemic. I decided last week that music might supply an understanding that I, alone could not provide.

I will be adding more songs as I find commonalities between the message and my reality. I open with "Where is the Love" by the Black Eyed Peas. We read the lyrics line by line, and the students analyzed what the words meant. After, when we listened to the song, the students realized they would not have known the message of the song if they had not studied the lyrics first. Two Tupac songs followed, although I had to censor heavily due to some language choices.

I challenge you to conduct a lesson on comprehension using songs. Let me know what you discover!

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