I was thinking a lot about how to get students to recognize how they are influenced by many facets of popular culture, and also to get them to broaden their view of it (given their responses to the essential questions yesterday). Finally, on the drive to school this morning, I landed on the idea to have them write a personal statement of introduction where they can only describe themselves through popular culture references.
Today is another 40 minute class due to an assembly, so the lesson will go in a similar fashion to yesterday. I will explain the assignment to them (pop culture identity writing.pdf), explaining too that they should practice adding lots of circumstances (prepositional phrases), one of the writing skills we worked on last week, in their descriptions. When I read the list of starter sentences I will fill in the blanks with some ideas that model what they will do.
After going over the instructions, I will give them fifteen minutes or so to write in a free-write fashion. When they seem to be done, I will have the students get in groups of three to share their responses—because they are, in essence, listing things they like, there isn’t a lot of benefit to sharing as a whole group in this case; my purpose with this is to show them just how influenced they are by popular culture, so sharing with a couple peers will be a step to get them there, while also letting them talk about what the referenced.
In the last ten minutes, we will re-convene as a group, and my one question will be how it felt to do that—what did they learn about themselves? With this question, I hope to establish the conceptual understanding that everyone is part of, and in some ways defined by, popular culture.
Next steps: Thursday we will address James McBride’s essay “Hip-hop Planet.”