Monday, February 15, 2010

Rapping in the Students with Video and Collaborating Writing

The Free Technology for Teachers blog featured a story about a high school teaching using two resources to ignite reluctant learners.


The first, The Week in Rap, is an online video set to rap music that reviews in a few brief minutes major events of the week. For students who don't keep current of world events, this is an excellent means to introduce them to world events and to promote in-class discussions.


Take some time to view a recent The Week in Rap video. Remember the old days when we sent students to school editions of Time or Newsweek magazines to stimulate discussions of current events. Students using The Week in Rap get a glimpse into world events in a matter of minutes, but can also replay the video and read its text to facilitate further reflection.

The other tool, Etherpad, is an online synchronous writing environment conducive to a social constructivist approach to learning, as students use the tools to collaborate and create texts. The additions each writer, at his or her own computer, makes appear on the screen as one text forms. This tool has applicability for a range of learners. Try it out with a friend or colleague.
Let us know what you think of these free tools to use in the classroom.

To learn about the high school teacher who used these two tools with her students, check on the Free Technology for Teachers blog, the posting for Monday, February 15, 2010: Using Technology to Find Students.

4 comments:

Meggan said...

I think this video rap is a great source for teachers to use in the classroom. I like how it's relatively short, but touches on the most important topics that hit the news during that week. I have my students write a letter to the editor on an article of their choice, so I can see using this video rap to stimulate further discussion in the classroom. I can see my students saying, "I wrote on that!" Plus, the way this video is done (rap) will definitely catch students' interest. This could be great to use at the end or the beginning of the week. Students could also reflect on what they see in a journal...there are just so many ideas that came to mind when I saw this. This is great!

Judy said...

Thanks, Meggan, for posting your comment. I was not sure how teachers would react to the use of the site in the classroom setting. I found that I had to watch the video twice to catch all the news stories that were covered. Even the teacher who posted the plan for using the site in her class noted that her students voluntarily wanted to watch the video more than once. I also liked that the soundtrack was posted below the video, which would help those teachers who want to also promote written litearcy skills. Back when I taught high school, we used the weekly editions of Time and Newseek for students to keep current of events. Teachers in both the English and Social Studies Departments used the magazines. And today, teachers can have students use a variety of online newspapers and magazines. In some ways, the electronic access saves the school systems money. The New York Times even has online lesson plans to go along with some of their online stories. Other newspapers and magazines (as well as television news outlets) are doing likewise. It is amazing how much information is now readily at the hands of our students, but we need to make them available of appropriate sources to access current events. I do think the Rap site will work well for students who are reluctant learners, and the site can help promote in class discussions and lead to some research projects or other assignments. If you use the site with your students, let us know how they respond.

Jeffrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

I agree with Meggan, I also think that video rap is an excellent source! What a great way to get students motivated about what is going on in the world around them!Some days I dont have time to read a newspaper or see the news, it could even be a good sources for myself.

As I was watching the video, I assign this as a project. Being a thought it would be a cool idea to Social Studies teacher, Im always trying to think of way to bring current events into my classroom. Students could rap about something that is going on in current events and try to connect it to what we are studying. I think I would get some great projets and it would be a good way to use different multiple intellegences!

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