FIVE excellent activities based on an AWESOME 7-minute rap video about all the US presidents of the 20th century! (All together this package can amount to a full week of well-spent class time if you choose to do all the suggested activities.)
“The Presidents Rap: 25th to 42nd” originated with an extra-credit challenge to a 10th-grade U.S. History class that only one pair of students rose to accept. The challenge was to write—and perform for the class—a rap with at least 1 line devoted to each president of the 20th century. The two students who worked together to produce a rap were reluctant to be the only group performing, so as I was chastising the rest of the class for their lack of inspiration, they challenged me to write a rap of my own, so that I could be the other performer on presentation day. I accepted the challenge, and with whatever time I could spare during cafeteria duty I began working on what became “The Presidents Rap: 25th to 42nd”. It was so popular with the students that performing it became an annual last-day-of-school tradition. As far as I know, I am the only teacher at my school who raps on his subject. Last summer I finally decided to do what my students have been encouraging me to do for years—record the rap in a professional studio and make it available on YouTube. But to compete on a multimedia website you need a visual, so I created one to go along with it. Now “The Presidents Rap: 25th to 42nd” is on YouTube as a music video.
The Presidents Rap Activity Package contains a set of activities designed to further engage your students with the Presidents Rap and the history it illuminates. The activities are worksheet-based for the sake of focus and accountability, representing a variety of cognitive domains and levels of rigor, from simple recognition and identification to student-centered textual analysis and critical thinking. One of them in particular, the “Rhyme & Reasons” worksheet, is especially fun because it forces the students to use the rhymes of the rap to answer the questions.
This giant package includes the both the video file (with audio) and the audio file (mp3) of “The Presidents Rap: 25th to 42nd” for your convenience; complete lyrics sheet; 8-page Historical Footnotes Companion Reader; Vocal Performance Guide; 2 different versions of the double-sided Presidents’ Faces Identification Activity, chronological and random; the 30-item “Rhyme & Reasons” worksheet, where students must phrase answers from the rap that rhyme with the questions on the worksheet; the double-sided “Researching the Rhymes” worksheet, a student-centered activity where they must generate their own questions about the history in the rap then look up the answers in the Historical Footnotes Companion Reader; the double-sided “Rapper’s Perspective” worksheet, where students practice their critical thinking skills in comparing how positively or negatively different presidents are portrayed in the rap, looking for evidence of the rapper’s perspective; Teacher’s Keys for the Identification worksheets and Rhyme & Reasons worksheet; plus the instrumental track (composed and mixed by The Passion Hi-Fi) of the beat behind the Presidents Rap so that you or your students can perform the rap (or verses of your own creation) in class.
TO SEE THE ENTIRE PRESIDENTS RAP VIDEO, GO TO YOUTUBE AND SEARCH FOR "The Presidents Rap: 25th to 42nd" by Mister Rutter.
1 video, 2 audio tracks, 32 pages