Thursday, 18 February 2016

Shakespeare or 90s Rap?

One of my favourite ways to start off a study of poetry is to ask students to finish the sentence, "Poetry is...".  I always get a dichotomy of responses- students who love poetry and think that it is the most pure form of expression and students who think that  poetry is stupid and wish that the poet would just say what they mean.  To both sides, I present the following: Shakespeare or 90s rap?  Quiz your students to see who they think spat out the following sick rhymes (answers given below):

1. "I'll teach you how to flow."
2. "United we stand, yes, divided we fall. Together we can stand tall."
3. "He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke and bounce."
4. "I exist in the depths of solitude pondering my true goal." 
5. "That's an ill phrase."
6. "Holla, holla!"
7. "You know very well who you are. Don't let them hold you down, reach for the stars."
8. "I am the dog: no, the dog is himself, and I am the dog - Oh! the dog is me and I am myself."
9. "To destroy the beauty from which one came."
10. "The most benevolent king communicates through your dreams."
11. "You knights of Tyre are excellent in making ladies trip."
12. "What is life? Life is a big obstacle put in front of your optical to slow you down."
13. "Just as high as my heart."
14. "This style is terror, drastic."
15. "Thou art raw."
16. "Our tongue is rough, coz, and my condition is not smooth."
17. "I act on what I feel and never deal with emotions."
18. "Our cake's dough on both sides."
19. "Trip no further, pretty sweeting."
20. "Look, when I serve him so, he takes it ill."

If your students like the idea of making connections between Shakespeare and hip hop, be sure to share this Ted Talk video with them!

(The Tempest, Public Enemy, King John, Tupac, Hamlet, King Lear, Notorious BIG, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Jay-Z, Wu Tang Clan, Pericles, Eminem, As You Like It, Nas, As You Like It, Henry V, Dr. Dre, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors)

Food for Thought... how do you engage your kids in difficult subject matter?

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