Each year I try to include a new hook to get my students more interested in my English classes. Usually I can keep the energy level up enough, but another “in” is always welcome. This year I started using music videos (purchased online), and this year I used the following:
- Green Day’s “Warning” during our Transcendental unit. The students love the ideas of the Transcendental writers, but they don’t always enjoy reading through the difficult vocabulary of the writings. Thus, I included this Green Day video as part of the idea of living by one’s own rules rather than the rules of society (sort of a Dead Poet’s Society carpe diem idea as well but 3.5 minutes long).
- Blind Melon’s “No Rain” while teaching about individuality and finding one’s own group. This worked well with Modernism and Post-Modernism (loosely used) with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The students loved the Bee Girl, and we even had a quick contest to see who could do the dance. A few kids even talked about their own searches for the right group of friends. Powerful!
- Dave Matthews Band’s “Ants Marching” is a good one for conformity and not taking charge of one’s life. The students really connected with the idea of going through routines without really thinking about them. This also came up during Modernism and Post-Modernism with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Plus, DMB’s “Typical Situation” has a fantastic chorus for teaching about conformity.
- Blues Traveler’s “Runaround” was fun for teaching allusion and allegory. Since the entire video is an homage to The Wizard of Oz (which is perfect for the heroic cycle), the students easily saw the allusions and allegory. Also, Shrek is a fantastic set of visuals for teaching allusions.
- Lastly, I taught parody by first showing the students “Who’s On First” by Abbott and Costello while reading The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath and then showing the students a YouTube video of the The Animaniacs’ parody using Woodstock. Then I played The Kinks’ “Lola” and then played Weird Al’s “Yoda” while displaying the lyrics. The kids loved the parody pieces.
I’ll have to see what other clips and videos I can find. 🙂