Thank you for being a part of the Bomani Armah wRiting System (BARS). Yes, we fudged the acronym a little bit, that’s hip-hop! For almost twenty years I have been teaching students about all types of subjects using Hip-Hop as a teaching tool. From years of sitting down with teachers, artists, librarians, administrators while pouring over the Common Core curriculum and dozens of lesson plans, I have developed songs, exercises and graphic organizers that make any student feel confident in writing. This opens up a whole world of possibilities to keep students engaged and excited about the writing process. With this Teacher Guide and accompanying Student Workbooks, you can introduce your students to the exciting world of rapping. Stream the album, or download the album and supplemental materials, here.
In Hip Hop, the art of MC’ing (Master of Ceremony, or Microphone Controller) is reliant on the ability to rearrange complex ideas into concise rhymes. If done it well, MC’s can make memorable rhymes that stick with the listener and inform them about the world around them. It is commonly believed that the art of Hip Hop rhyming is an innate talent, but through apply principles you already use in the classroom when teaching the writing process any student can be taught to rhyme.
This curriculum shows students how a well-written essay resembles a well written song. The main idea is the thesis paragraph in an essay, and is the chorus/refrain/hook in a song, while the supporting details in an essay are just like the verses in a song. Using innovative techniques such as the Rhyme Tree, students learn how to summarize any topic with well-organized paragraphs and rhymes.
The journey should be more important than the destination. Having the conversations about the words and how they relate to the main idea of the paragraph or a particular sentence makes students think about the content on a deeper level than memorization. This process makes them take apart a text and put it back together three dimensionally in order to put it into the bars of rhythm and rhyme leading to deeper comprehension.
Check out some of the music below.