Getting Vocal in English

Submitted by tiffanie.miley on Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:51

Most students think that English is all about reading and writing, but there are many more genres of learning to add to it.  The eighth graders in Mrs. Breakwell’s English class wrote songs about a movie called West Side Story.  Mrs. Breakwell said, “I thought writing some songs would be a nice alternative to writing an essay, and I thought it would be a good chance for multi-genre work since we were experiencing a musical.”

The students in Mrs. Breakwell’s  English class had the chance to experience and display their musical sides.  The students got together in groups of four and brainstormed lyrics that would display the way they understood  the movie.

Eighth-grade student Sean Tedrow said that West Side Story is like the gangster version of Romeo and Juliet, and that  students worked on writing the songs for two days.  After writing the songs, students had the opportunity to perform their song for the class.  Leilani Hansen, another eighth-grade student, said, “It was really great, because I got to work with my friends as a team.”  According Mrs. Breakwell, the students seemed to enjoy the assignment, because they got to expand their creativity past a normal English assignment.

Most of the students rewrote the lyrics to an original song (songs they hear or listen to on the radio), or they chose to do a rap.  They were assigned to write the lyrics in a way that displayed the outcome of the movie, and the way they felt the story played out.  So the students in Mrs. Breakwell’s class got to experience the “other side” to English this year.

Tiare Spencer, SJHS Staff Writer