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Chapter 11

I was running out of lesson plans for the kids.  I haven't taught school aged kids before and I figured the activities and discussion topics I used on the 5th through 7th graders would apply at the same rate as the 8th through 10th graders.  I was very much mistaken.  I believe I finished 3 days worth of discussions in one day and was feeling like I might have to run out the clock on a few 45 minute classes.  The oldest class, the 10th graders, were especially difficult to engage.  They are a class of 9 boys and 4 girls and none of the boys want to stand out and contribute to class.  I did find that in all three classes there were at least 3 students who played rock and roll instruments, several who like to sing and almost all of them like american music.  So I used my background in a band and many years of songwriting to lead them in a class where they wrote lyrics to a song.  And I did this three times in under three hours.


I started with the 8th grade class and I started writing the first verse and chorus of a song on the spot while telling them about rhyming and song structure.  Then I would ask them to sing the tune that they thought the lyrics would go with.  In the first class there was a boy who is a drummer who was enthusiastic about writing the lyrics and a girl who made up a tune and sang an amazing rendition of the lyrics provided.  The 9th grade class was equally impressive, and they also had an enthusiastic drummer in their class.  They were not as willing to sing their song aloud but all of the kids were humming the words to their own tunes as we worked on the song.  The 10th graders were a little shy to sing along but they were very good at supplying rhyming words and lyrics. 


In the younger two class the songs were about riding a bike through town very fast, and being chased and running very fast and those different songs were both 2 verses of 4 lines, and a chorus, and a bridge.  The 10th graders song was 3 verses plus a chorus and bridge and it was about getting out at night and dancing under the stars.  At the end of the day the students asked me to sing one of my old songs I had written and I sang the first verse and first line of the chorus before the bell rang.  They went from reserved to excited and clapping for my singing.  I was glad the bell rang because I could not remember any more of the song than what I sang.










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