Thursday, September 20, 2012

And now, a song about differentiated instruction and meeting the needs of a diverse classroom...

I wrote this as an "exit-out-the-door" card for a Professional Development seminar on expanding/developing English Language Learner instruction at CAJ; the prompt I chose was a RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) where the role was "student", the audience was "teacher", the format was "song" and the topic was "What you need to do for us."

In a nutshell, I had to write a song from the perspective of a student about what English Language Learner students need from the teacher, incorporating concepts from the past two days.  We had a half-hour to write our exit cards, so I used the tune of "Piano Man" by Billy Joel to create this (which I was then asked to sing for all my colleagues).  Writing and singing this made me a little nostalgic for all the times I did similar assignments back in high school: I LOVED it when teachers assigned song-writing as an option!  I need to think about how I can provide assessment opportunities for my students that will not only allow them to show their learning but also will inspire and energize them the way assignments like this one did (and still do) for me:

“You’re the teacher, man!”
(to the tune of Piano Man)  

It’s 8:30 on a Tuesday
Me and my friends shuffle in,
We had a rough day in class yesterday,
and now we must do it again.

Mr. Gibson says “Write me an essay!
About how civilization began.
You should talk about culture and geography, too,
oh and discuss the nature of man.”

Oh lah-dah-da-dee-dah dah
Lah-dah dee dee daa-da-daaa

Give us a hand, you’re the teacher, man!
Break down for us, what you mean,
Cuz nature means trees,
And I can’t help but freeze because
my first line is “well, trees are green!”

“Now Takeshi”, he says, “I’ve been thinking,
Maybe an essay’s too rough.
But you’re good at art,
(and I’ve got a kind heart)
So a poster should be enough.”

But then he tells all of my classmates
That writing is a valuable skill
Which we’ll carry for life
and will minimize strife;
So while they charge ahead, I’ll stand still?

Give me a hand, you’re the teacher, man!
Don’t dumb down your standards for me,
Cuz I’ve got a good mind,
and good ideas, you’ll find,
If you’d strategize to set them free!

“Class, I just came back from a seminar,
about how to teach like a pro.
When it started, I was all arrogant, 
but there was much I didn’t know.

All of you in here learn differently,
and I need to change how I teach
Because 'one size fits all'
is just dropping the ball.
And leaving success out of reach.”

Well, thank you for changing your teaching, man,
My competency, I can show.
Though I may never be ambi-lingual,
I can demonstrate all that I know.

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