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Rock Poetry


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Keywords: Poetry, Literary devices, English
Subject(s): Writing, English/Language Arts
Grades 8 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Beaver Local Middle School, Lisbon, OH
Planned By: Peggy Murphy
Original Author: Peggy Murphy, Lisbon
Students should have some background knowledge of literary devices and interpreting poetry. I would use this project at the end of a poetry unit as an assessment.

Pick a song that you like and play it for your students. Go through the song helping them to see all of the literary devices that the song writer used. I use White Rabbit from Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick has spoken about its meaning and she used a great deal of literary devices when she wrote it. There is also a great video that sets the song to Alice in Wonderland.

After students begin to see how lyrics are poetry and that they can apply the same interpretive techniques have them choose a song. Warn them to think carefully about the song. Not all songs have a meaning. Dance music is often just about the beat. Rap music can be a problem because of the inappropriate nature but they are often interesting to interpret. I have my students turn in a copy of their lyrics within a few days of assigning the project. First, it gets them going on the project and thinking about how they might visualize the song but it also gives you a chance to make sure that the songs are appropriate for your audience.

If your students are not familiar with Movie maker or Imovie you will have to spend at least one day showing them how to use the basic functions. Once you get them started many of them will experiment and discover new ways of doing things. Show them a site like Creative Commons so that they can choose pictures that are open source. Also, have a digital camera and digital video camera available so that they can take some original shots if they would like.

This is not a quick project it will take several weeks and you will need to figure out the logistics if students would like to work at school and at home on the project. However, it is a lot of fun and you will be amazed at how great the videos are when the students are done. They will remember their literary devices better, have a better understanding of poetry and many of them tell me that they start to listen to music differently. All of that while learning to use several technologies. Do not be intimidated if you do not know how to use the technology. Learn the basics. Once you get the kids started they will run with it and teach you a few things. Take advantage of the student in your class who does know how to use the technology and ask your media specialist for help. This is the perfect project to collaborate on.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The same concept can be used with any discipline. The Science teacher and I are planning on doing a project together where the students will research, write and produce a movie on a science topic.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Flip Video, Digital Cameras, Camera/Video Accessories, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Batteries, English/Language Arts