This activity introduces students to the Part 3 task on the NYS Common Core English Regents exam through the use of the song "Mad World" by Tears for Fears (1983). The version I used in class is by Gary Jules (2001), but Adam Lambert's rendition is just as good. The slower pace emphasizes the central idea for the students.
Included on this worksheet are the lyrics, questions about the central idea, and a table to identify writing strategies.
1. Introduce the task for the Regents by giving an overview.
2. Discuss what a central idea is and how authors use writing strategies to convey that idea.
3. Play the song for the students and ask that they follow along on the worksheet.
4. As a class, complete the first section on the central idea.
5. If this is the first activity for the Part 3, complete the writing strategy table together. If not, you can either assign a technique and a device to groups and ask that students find evidence from the song, so you can cover two techniques and two devices. Or, you can assign one of each and ask that students find two examples of each. For higher level students, you may be able to ask that they identify the strategy and find the evidence.
4. Students complete each section independently and then review the responses after an allotted time.
5. Discuss, or ask students to write, how this song conveys Holden's feelings in the novel, or a specific chapter.