Hey Fam-

Mike Cassidy here, again. Dr. Love went to Rochester, NY to speak at the Boys and Girls Club and left me in charge of the lesson for Real Talk. I taught a lesson on creative writing using zines as another form of self-expression and used them to write about the elements of Hip Hop.

As usual, we started lesson in our afternoon cypher. The greeting for the day was “What’s new?” and this allowed us to take a break and give an update on the things we were doing. The students were eager to share new things they just purchased, what they were doing in school, and one shared how he got a new girlfriend. We recalled my last lesson on graffiti and how they were encouraged to “Express Yourself!” Keeping that in mind and taking a step further, our message of the day was “Show and Prove.” The students instantly picked up on the meaning and related it to “talking the talk and walking the walk.”

We transitioned back to our seats and discussed the different types of writing they do in school. The students explained the differences between expository, descriptive, and persuasive writing. Next, I gave a short presentation on persuasive writing and techniques writers use to persuade their readers.

Knowing they just studied the American Revolutionary War, I asked how and why it started. The students were knowledgeable about the topic and I told them that not everyone wanted to fight in the war. So I asked how do you think they convinced everyone? They quickly realized it was through persuasive writing. I shared with them about the first zine in the U.S. was Common Sense by Thomas Paine. We continued to discuss how he was able to distribute his zine or pamphlet to all of the colonies; therefore, he was able to persuade everyone to support the war.

I explained that a zine is a self-published text. I provided the students with multiple examples and pointed out how some have only pictures and few words, while others have various types of fonts. The students were concerned about the waste of paper and contributing to global warming, this is something they were taught in Marsha’s science lesson.  Later, we reviewed the elements of Hip Hop and how the culture started in the Bronx. I related this to how zines were created by kids as an underground culture as well.

Lastly, I gave them the assignment of creating a zine and relating it to at least one of the elements of Hip Hop. Students grabbed their materials and got right to work. Each student had to determine what type of zine they were going to create and what element they wanted to write about. Within 20 minutes, students created zines on their favorite rappers, various rap and dance battles, and stories of knowledge of self.

I could not be anymore proud of how the students were able to pick up a new writing style and relate it to what they are learning in Real Talk. They definitely were able to “Show and Prove” what they know about Hip Hop.

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