First song = HUGE SUCCESS
My kids didn’t realize I could keep a rhythm or write rhymes… but then again, the bar was set pretty low. I could have written half as much and rapped reeeeeeally slow and they STILL would have enjoyed it. Not much is expected of us, TEACHERS, when it comes to creativity. So, I could have gone full blown “Dr. Seuss” and they would have gone nuts.
Did they understand everything I said? Nope. In fact I had to follow-up with them afterwards that I had, in fact, called them out. I had some difficulty with a few of the vocabulary words so I forcefully (and unpoetic as all Hell…) inserted them into latter bars of the rap.
Did they learn all of the words? Wellllll…. sort of. In hindsight, you should not perform a study guide Vocab Rap on THE DAY OF THE TEST… allowing the students no chance to actually study… oops!
Oh yea, they also didn’t believe that I was really Ben Franklin. In fact, they didn’t even notice the name drop in the first place. When I repeated the line (an equivalent to explaining a joke…) they figured it was my rap name. They definitely do not believe that I am actually Ben Franklin. Oh well! I guess that makes sense since YOU don’t either…
On the plus side, they really liked that line: “So sophisticated I made Rick Ross say, ‘Huh!?’”… so that’s a win!!!!
I got all of my students’ attention. Some of them accepted my challenge. For Vocabulary Unit 2, they were ready to throw down. “Quiz Day” would be renamed “The Thunderdome”.
Now, I would LOVE to say that they spent every hour working on their own vocabulary raps. That would’ve been LOVELY. Instead, I got them to work on it twice in their study-hall… over the course of 4 weeks. And that was only after I extorted them about EXTRA CREDIT. (It got them to write, so don’t judge me.) The IRONY was that they would walk over to me in study-hall to ask if they were using vocabulary words correctly in otherwise slang-filled rhymes:
“You ugly f— punk, your face a abomination…”
“It’s so adventitious that your booty so circuitous…”
“Yo, Nonymous, your synonymous with a hippopotamus…”
(No vocab in this one, it’s just my favorite…)
I knew then what I was getting myself into. I needed to reset the expectations about the INOFFENSIVE lyric clause. There could be none. So that I didn’t lose control of my classes. They needed to be respectful to each other as well as to me. Otherwise, we would not continue with it. In reality, I just didn’t want to get into trouble…
… but I also knew I needed to still come at their necks pretty badly. (Translation: I was going to figuratively demolish them through ridicule). The second OG RULE is: “You attack them once, shame on you. You attack them twice, period.” I came right back at them. I was swinging away with each bar, casting aside all takers.
There was benefit of using all of the vocabulary words in the rap. All of my insults took on a heightened sense of sophistication… making it even more condescending, yet sounding less so.
Plus I kept it fast paced with lots of complex-sounding, multiple-syllable words… it’s a doozy to spit in one take…
The night before the quiz, I created my Power Point. I went to bed early and woke up early. I read an excellent section from a biography of Henry Clay and fried up two eggs with pork roll on the side. I put on another sophisticated “teacher” outfit and I headed to school.
Summer had rolled into fall. The emerald leaves had faded into a rusted auburn that was only a few shades from my hair color. I popped on my head phones and marched.
My Pandora station this time? Birdman…
(VOCABULARY words in bold*)
My skill so ill, it’ll kill all ages,
You best be courageous, ‘cause my spits is contagious
It’s so advantageous, not ADVENTITIOUS
That I made an assignment where I get to murder you (Biscuits!)
You’re sitting there simmering, miserably COMMISERATING,
You’re anger’s FERMENTATING into straight ABOMINATING
You’ll sit here PECULATING all the rhymes that I’m creating,
I ain’t speculating by sayin’ that your cheaply imitating,
Never duplicating, though unknowingly EXPIATING
Yo, you’re rapping my vocab, that’s INADVERTENT ACCULTURATIN’
You’ve done what I wanted, so congrats! I win!
I got you studyin’, and I win the crown again
Your VITRIOLIC PROCLIVITY’S not giving me remorse,
I told you, “Stop being mean.” I ENJOINED you from this course
But you kids got that attitude, can’t handle your stress,
Your rhymes is TENUOUS, moving your pencil’s strenuous
So trust me, I ain’t afraid that your song gon’ drop,
I got that SANGFROID ‘cause your song gon’ flop
I’m algebraic the way I’m so formulaic, you can’t hold me, though
No equating. Your skill’s NOMINAL, I’m polynomial
My function’s coefficient multiplying to new editions,
I make laws, so watch that CIRCUITOUS SEDITION,
You never should chose to come at me, but you’ll never listen
Next time I say “Wanna go!?” Stick with NONCOMMITTAL indecision
Try to WHEEDLE like a needle, move quick with precision
This’ll EXPEDITE the process, and make for better conditions,
Cause in this game, it’s all about allegiances you makin’
You know how I know that? ‘cause I’m B. Franklin.