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I Am Special and You Are Special Too 

Student Teacher: Alyson Walls
Project Children L.E.A.D. Director: Dr. Vincenne Revilla Beltran
Subject Area: Diversity
Grade level: 8th grade
Length of Lesson: 60 minutes

Objectives: Students will be able to recognize what makes them special through class participation; discussion of rap music and its similarities to poetry; working together to write a poem about themselves and designing their own special hat. They will understand vocabulary words including poetry, rhythm and rhyme.

Learning Goals and PA Standards:

Speaking and Listening 1.6

1.6.8 A Listen to others

- Ask probing questions

- Analyze information, ideas and opinions to determine relevancy


1.3 Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

1.3.8 C. Analyze the effect of various literary devices.

- Sound techniques (rhyme and rhythm)

1.3.8 D Identify poetic forms


1.4 Types of Writing

1.4.8 Write short stories, poems and plays

- Include literary elements and literary devices


1.6.8 D Contribute to discussions

- Ask relevant, probing questions

- Respond with relevant information, ideas or reasons in support of opinions expressed

- Listen to and acknowledge the contributions of others

- Clarify, illustrate or expand on a response when asked.


Arts and Humanities

9.1.8 B Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principles to produce, review and revise original works in the arts.

- Visual arts (draw, craft)

9.1.8 E Communicate a unifying theme or point of view through the production of works in the arts.


9.3.8 Critical Response

A. Know and use the critical process of the examination of works in the arts and humanities.

- Analyze and Interpret


Materials: Chalkboard, Magnetic Boards and Poetry Magnets, Hat Worksheet, White Hats, Fabric Paint


Adaptations: As needed based on students' special needs.


Review: Students should have a firm grasp of classroom rules and expected behaviors. Students will understand basic poetry and literary elements.



1. Begin by saying, "Last week during the "Getting to Know You" lesson, I heard several of you say that you like rap music. Can you tell me why? Why do you like rap as opposed to country?" Help students hone in on terms such as rhythm and rhyme - write them on the board and define. Rhythm - the pattern of sound created by repeated words or syllables in a poem or song. Rhyme - words that sound the same, usually at the end of a line of poetry


Discuss music. All music, whether its country or rock or rap, no matter what it sounds like, has rhythm and rhyme in common. Can you think of anything else that has rhythm and rhyme? Poetry - write on the board and define.


Poetry - writing, usually comprised of short lines that have rhythm and sometimes rhyme, in which words are used to affect emotions and imagination.


2. Have the students read an excerpt from the children's book "Green Eggs and Ham" to hear rhythm and rhyme in its simplest form. Ask them to name some other books that Dr. Seuss wrote. Ex. "The Cat in the Hat," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."


3. Pass out and read Hat poem. Read Leaves poem. Read Pumpkin poem.


4. Discuss poetry. Poems often are made up of the most simple subjects and simple words such as pumpkins, leaves, trees and other objects. Can you think of some food that you like or dislike? You named some last week. What about other things that you like ...the seasons, the weather? How about some characteristics about yourself? Any of these things can become the basis for a poem or song. Think about what some of your favorite songs are about.


5. Organize the students into groups and explain the poetry boards and magnets. Now, I would like for you to work together to write your own poem, or, you can think of it as your own rap song. Try to come up with at least three lines that have rhythm and rhyme. Cooperate with each other. If there is a word on someone else's board that you would like to use, ask them nicely if you can use it. Share your resources.


These poems can be about your family, something that happened at school today, your feelings tonight, a pet or your favorite food. These are coming from you, so there are no wrong answers. Afterward, write your poems inside Dr. Seuss' hat. If you need help, raise your hands.


6. Once students are finished writing their poems, have the groups read them. Ask students to describe the subjects and themes they chose and why.


Assess: Oral questions, reading aloud, poetry magnets and written poem, class participation.


7. Now, we will move on to a fun art project.


Assign: Art project with painted hats. Ask students to choose which item they would like to decorate. Use the paint to illustrate your poem or something about yourself. You can write your name, draw a flower or anything you would like. The idea is to make your hat special.


Close: So what have we learned today? We learned that rap music is very similar to poetry and that all music has rhythm and rhyme in common. So, even when you hear or see something that looks or sounds different on the outside, inside it's probably very similar.


Reflect: Self-evaluation about what worked in the lesson and what didn't. Strengths, weaknesses and what needs to be improved. Get feedback and suggestions from others.


Resources in APA Style:


Revilla, Dr. Vincenne. (2004) Project: Children L.E.A.D. Retrieved Sept. 28, 2004, from The Project: Children L.E.A.D. Web site:


Kapell, Dave & Streenland, Sally. (1998) Kids' Magnetic Poetry. Workman Publishing, New York, N.Y.


Geisel, Theodore. (1960) Green Eggs and Ham. Beginner Books. Ramdom House Publishing, New York, N.Y.


Moore, Helen H.. (1997) A Poem a Day 180 Thematic Poems and Activities that Teach and Delight All Year Long. Scholastic Inc. Publishing, New York, N.Y.