Most students actually like to quote relevant verses, critique artists, emulate rhythm or style, relate entire anthologies to various worldviews, and create personally meaningful (play)lists of any genre’s masters. They also tend to revel in themes such as beauty/ugliness, acceptance/rejection, love/hate, leisure/work, hope/despair, and evil/justice. But when asked to use these same skills to analyze elements of poetry or literature, many teens become tone deaf. Yet a love of music can usher students into a literary universe far beyond the confines of their mp3 earbuds.
'Well-Versed: Critical Thinking in Literary Terms for the MP3 Generation' is a series of units designed to help students discover that universally cool ideas exist in all kinds of verse. Activities are based on eclectic mash ups of classic poetry, country ballads, ageless sonnets, rock music, elegant verse, or raps get students jazzed to use critical thinking, manage literary concepts and compose original work.
Unit 1 of Well-Versed, ‘The Future is Write Ahead' compares the lyrics of several classic poems, a 1960s folk song, and a pop hit. These very different presentations of lyrics all champion the cause of new beginnings and meeting the future head-on. Unit exercises cover rhyme scheme, rhythm, poetic form, simile, metaphor, analogy, alliteration, theme, writing style, effect of grammar/punctuation, speech style, tone, mood, voice, blogging, graphic design, and context.