by Leslie Lucas, Hoggard HS
I’m so comfortable cloistered in Room 228, venturing out only when necessary. But when I read the recent blog post by Xan Mays & Taylor Thomas entitled Making Space for Today's Poets: The Role of The Beatles, Beyonce, & Bruno in the ELA Classroom about engaging students with song lyrics, a visit to Xan’s room became necessary. Two days later she and Florence and the Machine were shaking up my classroom.
Students whose voices I’d never heard discussed how a buried horse symbolizes letting go of the past and how the author’s tone evolves from overwhelmed and rebellious to optimistic. After the lesson, students volunteered to help me find song lyrics rich with imagery, metaphors, parallelism, personification, tone, and symbols that help convey the theme(s). Later, I’ll gravitate to my choices (Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Jackson Brown), but Xan showed me that I need to meet my students where they are. And if that means I have to listen to Taylor Swift, well, I’ll make the sacrifice.