Picture a school in the middle of the desert, with NOTHING but tumbleweeds for 30 miles. Now picture being an eighth grader growing up here. Gangs, drugs, and mischief of all kind are rampant in this tiny, isolated community on the Navajo reservation. My students, all Native American, are brilliant and beautiful, but lets face it, they're bored. They are also many grade levels behind where they should be in reading.
"Aw, Miss, I can see it now. We're gonna get another second grade textbook that will put us to sleep in 2 minutes." Yes, my students are used to learning from elementary school primers. Who can blame them for finding literature boring? My students need to be hooked on reading, they need to be inspired to pursue their goals, and they need to be motivated to be in school. My eighth graders are facing an important milestone: go to high school, or drop out forever. Hip hop poetry, spoken word, and rap might just be the catalyst that will fortify my students for the future. They love Tupac and favor the rap radio stations, but they've never realized that music is poetry, and poetry is beautiful.
Imagine taking 65 kids from the Rez and teaching them poetry skills via Tupac and Chuck D. They'll learn not only literary devices, but they'll also learn critical thinking skills. Through these lyrics, my students will be able to critically analyze the racism, bias, police brutality, and gang violence that they have been all too exposed to. Plus, "true" hip hop lyrics are full of meaningful vocabulary, idioms, similes, metaphors, and imagery. We're not talking about booty-shaking music from MTV; this is true political rally music with life-changing messages. And perhaps most importantly, these poets have triumphed over adversity and will serve as important role models to my students.
Sometimes to reach 100% of students, you need to step outside the box and get creative. Through your generosity, even my students who "hate" reading will gain crucial literary analysis skills. Your amazing gift will inspire my students to become a "Rose in the Concrete" like Tupac and rise above the stagnant poverty and violence around them. My students right now are facing an endless desert full of alcoholism, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and extreme poverty. In Tupac's words, your gift will be enabling my students to "walk without havin' feet."
|Flocabulary: The Hip-Hop Approach to SAT-Level Vocabulary Building Blake Harrison, Alexander Rappaport, Foreword by Ann Marie Mulready • Barnes and Noble||$15.25||1||$15.25|
|Rose That Grew from Concrete Tupac Shakur, Foreword by Nikki Giovanni, Leila Steinberg (Introduction) • Barnes and Noble||$17.56||1||$17.56|
|Inside a Thug's Heart Angela Ardis, With Tupac Shakur • Barnes and Noble||$18.90||1||$18.90|
|Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation Jeff Chang, D. J. Herc (Introduction), Kool Herc (Introduction) • Barnes and Noble||$14.40||1||$14.40|
|Chuck D: Lyrics of a Rap Revolutionary, Volume One Chuck D, Yusuf Jah • Barnes and Noble||$17.05||1||$17.05|
|Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies Brian Coleman • Barnes and Noble||$15.25||1||$15.25|
|Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop Imani Perry • Barnes and Noble||$19.75||1||$19.75|
|Dur•O•Sport Gradeballs® Rubber Basketballs - Yellow Junior • Sportime, Inc.||$9.29||1||$9.29|
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