Thursday, February 19, 2015

Close reading a text

So here's an old post I began and never finished. I began the year with an introduction of close reading a text using Outkast's Hey Ya! Perhaps you've heard the song.

As you can tell by the catchy tune and the fun and colorful video, this seems like an upbeat and happy tune.

But then I caught this acoustic cover on the radio one day and I almost cried on my way to the grocery store.

I knew I had a great opportunity to teach students how to close read a text. Here's what I did.

First, I played the Outkast video. Students sang along and danced (surprised me; I didn't think they'd know it!). We talked about what the song is about and what is the tone of the song.

Next, I played Matt Weddle's version and asked the same questions.

Finally, I gave students a copy of the lyrics and asked them to perform a close reading to tell me what the song is about and what is the tone. They were told to use the lyrics to support their analysis and that they should be marking up the lyric sheet, looking for key words/phrases/patterns in the text. I asked, "what words or phrases tell you what this song is about?" Then, we had a whole class discussion, modeling close reading. 

Finally, I gave them a historical text to close read.

This worked really well, and of course, I was singing Hey Ya all day!

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Thanks for learning along with me!