I think today’s lesson was a hit. We’ve been discussing theme (the literary kind) this week. As a reader, I find themes to be the most satisfying part of reading. I love thinking about how the big ideas about life play out in a particular story. If I’m really lucky, I will come away richer and wiser about life. As a teacher, though, I find it difficult to teach theme. Thanks to my colleagues at the IUSWP, I tried a new lesson on theme using a popular song. The demo lesson this summer modeled finding theme in “Merry Go Round” by Kacey Musgraves. Even though it’s a great song, I decided that I could not listen to and discuss such a depressing song six times in one day.
Instead, I chose to use “Firework” by Katy Perry. I apologize to any who don’t like the song or have heard it too many times. If you haven’t heard it in a while, click on over. I still enjoy it after six times today. I must say, there is nothing quite like hearing a room full of seventh graders sing along. Some even accompanied their singing with head-bobbing, foot-tapping, and hand-waving. It was quite a sight. I wish I had gotten pictures or video, but the iPad was playing the video. Third period wins for the best sing-along. Sixth period was the most enthusiastic.
I was even more impressed with our discussions afterwards. Even though a few students thought it might be pretty cool for someone to literally explode into fireworks, most grasped the metaphors in the song as we dove into theme. Our first step was to capture what the song is about in a single word or phrase. I erased first period’s responses before writing them down, so I hope I remembered all of them. Some choices came up every class, but even by seventh period, I was surprised and impressed with new ideas. In no particular order, here is what we came up with:
- only one you
- be yourself
- believe in yourself
- worth or self-worth
- being different and unique
- do anything
- try it
- not a waste of space
- you’re special
- you can do it
I didn’t collect the next part of the lesson, so I need your help. To find the theme, we asked, “What does the song say about __________?” I know the ones in class were amazing and awesome! Leave yours in a comment below.
If you want to share another song, paste the link in a comment and tell us what theme y ou take away from it.