One year, to start the school year, my students rewrote the lyrics to The Beatles’ song Help!. This introduced them to a classic piece of music, an important musical group (yes, some were unfamiliar with the Fab Four!), and allowed me to introduce figurative language in an immediately meaningful way.
I based this on the ideas of inductive thinking, that is students started with examples and then moved towards an abstract big idea.
In this case, in groups of three, they listed all of the things that happened to them over their summer breaks. Their goal was to find some kind of pattern. Then, they had to express that pattern as a one-syllable word, which would replace the word “Help” in the chorus of the song. Then, each person in the group remixed one verse to be specifically about their summer break.
So the chorus was the group’s big idea and the verses were the individual details.
Remixed titles included:
- Food! (these students called their band The Eatles HA!)
As an extension, I brought out a pile of empty CD jewel cases, and students designed album covers for their hit single.
These tasks are enjoyable for students as well as for me, serve as some nice browsing items at Back To School Night, and give me a peek into my kids’ personalities. Sometimes the classic assignments have a lot of life left in them if we do a slight tweak.