Welcome to your Poplit Lyrics Station!
Welcome to your Poplit Lyrics Station, which uses popular music to promote literacy learning! Media content found on YouTube.com. This website & questions created by J. Johnson, teacher. Questions focus on these areas: summarizing the main idea, determining mood, figurative language and point of view, making comparisons (to music videos, 'literary' poems, other songs & forms of media) and determining their effectiveness. This site is not an endorsement of any content provided herein. It is strictly for educational purposes! This site is probably best for older students (Junior/ Intermediate/ Senior). Songs are those commonly heard on the radio.
How To Use Poplit Lyrics: Sample Lesson
Here is a sample lesson, using Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes:
Students listen to the song and read along with the lyrics. As they do so (or afterwards) they write down what they think the main idea is. (You could also do this as a think/pair/share).
Afterwards, I take suggestions from the class and list 5 suggested main ideas on chart paper. With Stereo Hearts, students often suggest ideas like 'wanting to love' or 'wanting to be loved for who you are'.
Together, we elaborate on this. They need to provide proof/quotes from the text to support their position, so I will typically write down on chart paper any corresponding proof.
You can also do connections to text (have students create connections and share), or metaphors/similes with these lyrics. (This song has many metaphors/similes. Students can highlight all the metaphors/similes they can find and then choose one to explain).
This particular task also includes a music video.
MUSIC VIDEO PORTION
When looking at the music video, students are to 'judge how effectively the visual representations portrayed the main idea of the text'. To do this, of course, they must interpret the images.
I encourage students to jot down every image they see in the music video...then choose the top 5, the five that seem most important.
When I did this with a Gr. 7 class, we realized the video seems to involve a lot of shadow, it is quite grey in tone, and very 'real world'...the pavement is cracked, for example. Also, why is he so alone? Random people walk by...but where is the romantic interest? He is singing this song to someone, asking if he can love them and asking to be loved in spite of flaws. So...where is this person? Why isn't the video 'more romantic'?
At the end, students have to decide yes or no...was this an effective representation of the main idea as expressed in the lyrics? They have to support their opinion with evidence from both the video and the lyrics.
For this video, most students said no, it wasn't a good representation, primarily because it seemed at odds with the idea of love and romance. But a surprising number said 'yes', it was an effective representation...because he is asking to be loved 'as is'...and reality involves shadows and cracked pavement. It's 'not fake'.
Of course, there is no right or wrong answer. It all depends how how well you can justify and explain your opinion, supporting your opinion with evidence from the texts (both written and visual texts).
(And before you begin, you may want to establish or even co create with the students the criteria of a 'good answer' in terms of how well it explains and justifies).