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The Message Behind the Music

This unit asks students to identify literary themes in the lyrics of popular rap music. Students also explore how music affects current events, as well as how it has affected history.

Unit Sponsor: 

Previewing the Reflection:

A series of open-ended pre-reading questions designed to engage students, assess prior knowledge, and expose any pre-conceived ideas about the person or culture explored in the Reflection.  Previewing the Experience questions are intended to be non-threatening and accessible to a range of students.  Students are encouraged to answer honestly, and to discuss their answers with their classmates.

PDF icon Previewing the Reflection

Reflection: The Message Behind the Music by Alyia Hicks

Alyia's Reflection explores the power of Rap music and it's affect on youth, society, and even politics. She discusses how Rap has brightened her life in a way that's empowering and motivational. She provokes the reader to not only listen to the beats but also to hear the messages.

PDF icon The Message Behind the Music

Understanding the Reflection:

This resource is to be used during and after students read the Reflection.  Included in it are a series of reading comprehension questions designed to check for student understanding of the Reflection.  These questions formats include multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, short response, or other effective questioning strategies.

PDF icon UR2_Understanding_Rap Music.pdf

Learning Activity: English/Language Arts- Lessons in the Lyrics

English/Language Arts / 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th / 2-4 class periods (90-180 min)

In this Learning Activity, students will combine their pre-existing ideas of music with those expressed in the One World Reflection in order to evaluate how music, of all genres, offer message through the lyrics. Students will explore positive and negative aspects of the rap genre, and practice identification of theme in popular and powerful song lyrics.

Learning Activity: Social Studies-Music Tells Our History

Social Studies / 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th / 3-4 class periods (135-180 min)

Students will use the One World Reflection to analyze how music reflects current and past events.

Reviewing the Reflection:

This resource is to be used after students read the Reflection.  It includes a series of post-reading questions designed to encourage student reflection and assess changes in students' perception and understanding of the cultural issues addressed in the unit through some deliberately repeated questions in the "Previewing the Experience" activity.

PDF icon Reviewing the Reflection

Responding to the Reflection:

This resource should be used after the students read the Reflection. Students are presented with a list of questions intended to illicit a more personal response about the Reflection they have just read. After considering those questions, students compose a letter to the author of the Reflection with their thoughts, observations, questions and comments.

PDF icon Reflection Response

Culture Cube:

This resource can be used at any point within a unit. The Culture Cube allows students to think about and organize their research of any culture into eight major traits (social groups, government, history, language, daily life, economy, religion, and art). The Culture Cube can prepare students before reading a Reflection, or before doing unit resources and learning activities. Similarly, teachers can use the Culture Cube to wrap up or assess students’ knowledge after engaging in the other unit resources and learning activities. The Culture Cube can be used in isolation of or integrated with the larger One World Curriculum. Definitions and examples of each trait of culture are given to guide students. The Culture Cube requires students to go beyond the Reflection for their research, so teachers need to make available a number of different resources from which students might gather information, including, but not limited to: textbooks, websites, encyclopedias, reference books, reports and maps.