Thursday, January 24, 2013

Descriptive Writing Lesson for Secondary English

These two pictures show the most popular words used in the US Billboard Top 10 songs from February 21, 1960 and February 21, 2010. I’m sure you can work out which is which.

I think we can all agree that the penning of songs has gone downhill and that doesn't help our students' vocabulary, imagination, or creative writing skills.  

I came across this videos on my google reader one day. A guy took popular songs from 2012 and translated them to extraneous lyrics. 
Song list:
'Call Me Maybe by Carly' Rae Jepsen
'Boyfriend' by Justin Bieber
'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' by Taylor Swift
'Gangnam Style' by Psy
'Somebody That I Used To Know' by Gotye
'What Makes You Beautiful' by One Direction
'We Are Young' by Fun.

I thought I could use this to introduce my lesson in descriptive writing!

I wrote down some of the lyrics that were translated and their original versions:

'Call Me Maybe by Carly' Rae Jepsen
Extraneous Lyrics
I dispensed hope into a subterranean reservoir
Interrogate me and I’ll remain taciturn
I glanced wayward during the gravitational pull
And now you’re impeding my peregrination

Your retinal cones were transfixed
Lacerated denim visible epidermis
Coalescent dusk zephyrs and turbulence
What’s your predetermined thoroughfare baby?

Hey, we’re barely acquaintances
And this is borderline schizophrenic
But here’s a set of sequential integers
So perchance we’ll engage in telephonic discourse

Original Lyrics 
I threw a wish in the well,
Don't ask me, I'll never tell
I looked to you as it fell,
And now you're in my way

Your stare was holdin',
Ripped jeans, skin was showin'
Hot night, wind was blowin'
Where do you think you're going, baby?

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here's my number,
So call me, maybe?

'Boyfriend' by Justin Bieber
Extraneous Lyrics

Giving all the disposable income and affection that I’ve got
Hearthside eating Swiss melted cheese in a pot
I’m unsure about myself but confident in my knowledge of you
Greet some high-pitched faux feminine vocals as I’ve been know to do..swag (No translation?)

I’d aspire to fulfill your requirements
Hello woman
Let’s schedule a conference
If I was your male companion

Your movement would be constrained
Retain you in a sleeper hold

You’d never be quarantined
And I can remain courteous

Or change my mannerisms to fit your preferences
If we engaged in a consensual relationship
My grasp would never cease

Original Lyrics  
I got money in my hands that I’d really like to blow
Swag, swag, swag, on you
Chillin' by the fire while we eatin’ fondue
I don't know about me but I know about you
So say hello to falsetto in three, two, swag

I’d like to be everything you want
Hey girl, let me talk to you

If I was your boyfriend, never let you go
Keep you on my arm girl, you’d never be alone
I can be a gentleman, anything you want
If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go, I’d never let you go

I thought I could explain to my students what this artist had done, taken the lyrics and translated them into their most literal and descriptive sense. I would then ask them to bring in the lyrics to three of their favorite (and edited if necessary) songs. 

I would have them choose three stanzas from each song and translate them into extraneous lyrics (using thesauruses of course). We could display the original and extraneous lyrics side by side on my classroom bulletin board when we are done as a reminder. 

I think this will be a great intro into my Show Me Sentences!  

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