Posts Tagged ‘assignments’
Song parodies are quite popular these days. A search of “song parodies” on the Web returns more than 30,000 videos—and some of these song-parody creators have quite the following. Shows like Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon Tonight, or the Academy Awards boldly use song parodies to get laughs and make statements. Weird Al Yankovich, who caused quite a musical stir in the 1980s with his song parodies and satirical music videos, is still the biggest name in the genre.
And then…there are the educational song parodies [insert students laughing and/or groaning—it’s usually a mixture of both].
I’ve been in classrooms and have watched students watching educational song parodies.
Coming from 1980s classroom culture, which embraced video watching as a fun and wasteful day, I was a bit skeptical.
But the classroom came alive, and I witnessed learning happening.
Each of the educational song-parody videos I saw in the classroom—or heard about from my daughter and watched with her later—was created by an educator somewhere in the world singing or rapping (sometimes pretty badly) about a topic. (And let me just say that any teacher willing to put time and effort into creating an educational song parody and accompanying video gets an “A” in my book.)
So…we are in the classroom, the lights are dimmed, the screen goes down, the music and video come on and…education begins. The students snicker, groan, laugh, and sing along. The song parody ends, discussion concludes the lesson. Class is over, and students leave the classroom singing the song.
As I said, learning happened. And it was fun.
If you check some out, I think you will understand why. My daughter’s favorite is “Ancient Mesopotamia Song By Mr. Nicky.” Mr. Nicky has recorded other World History song parodies, but this one is particularly enjoyable (and quite catchy). Another favorite of hers is “Five Themes of Geography,” by James B White. He calls it “hip-hop-tabulous.”
Math facts have made their way into educational song parodies, as in the song-parody compilation “Multiplication Mash Up – A Fun Way to Learn Your Multiplication Facts!” by McCarthy Math Academy . And be sure to check out this charming performance of “Perfect Squares (Dark Horse Parody, Katy Perry) Songs For School” by Songs for School.
Want some more? Web sites catering to teachers, such as TeachHub and Mental Floss, have compiled lists of the best educational song parodies: Top 12 Educational Music Videos and 19 Videos That Make Learning Fun, respectively. TeacherTube provides a search engine to find more educator-approved educational song parodies.
And if you’re thinking of getting in to the song-parody business, you’ll need to know how to write one. How to Write a Song Parody, complete with graphics, should cover it.
Song parodies are so popular that teachers are incorporating them into their class curriculum. Curious about how that would work? Check out this Student Parody Assignment. Wondering how a song-parody project fits into educational standards? To give you an idea, I found this handy Civil War Song Parodies assignment page from the Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System site.
I’m going to end with a personal note–My daughter has written and performed two song parodies so far in her World History class. She was so proud of the finished work and loved the entire process. She and her partner called their second song parody “This Is Greece,” sung to the tune of “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. If you know the song and can carry a tune, try it out–I’ve included the first verse and chorus below:
The Greek world is on a peninsula
In the meditteranean sea
You dream about myths
About every single god
Just look at those city-states
With history, art, and drama
Such architecture around you
What more could you be wishin’ for
This is Greece
This is Greece
Oh my, it’s better
Down here we’re voting
Take it from me!
Up in Sparta they fight all day
Out in the mountains they train away
While we’re learning
This is Greece!
Book reports are a very common assignment in elementary school. Usually, the book report will be a form that the students fill out describing the plot, setting, characters, etc. But lately, I’ve noticed my daughter’s 4th-grade teacher has made these assignments more exciting. I previously blogged about the first quarter project called “Book Floats.” But the second and third quarter brought even more exciting projects. One is called a “Story Cube Book Report” and the other is called a “Paper Bag Book Report.”
The Story Cube project was fun. The student either cuts out a template on large poster board paper to make a cube or they find a box and glue paper on each side. My daughter chose the latter. Each side of the cube has something different such as paragraph writing or hand-drawn pictures. And of course, there is an oral presentation in front of the class. Here is an example of instructions for this project that I found online. My daughter chose to do her report on “The Hypnotists” by Gordon Korman.
I thought the Paper Bag project was also a fun idea. The students need to get a paper grocery bag, usually from their local supermarket. Then they need to cover each side with a different aspect of the story such as main idea, main characters, setting, and more. The bottom of the bag is where they rate the story and inside the bag they have to place items that represent the story. She chose “Double Fudge” by Judy Blume this time.
I think these types of projects help bring out the student’s creative side. They have so much fun making the project that they don’t realize they are writing a book report!
Teachers, a great place to learn about children’s books is in SIRS Discoverer! Here are some subject searches in ProQuest SIRS Discoverer to get you started: