Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who What When Where and How

The Who What When Where and How strategy engages students by tapping into youth culture and Hip Hop. Basically, students write a four-beat song to demonstrate their thinking on a particular topic.

Chorus: (all students sing)

Who, What, When, Where and How
Who, What, When, Where and How

Verse: (individuals or groups of students sing--see sample below)

In World Literature I employed this strategy to make their setting brace map come to life. Student groups were assigned a setting in The Handmaid’s Tale. They dissected the setting description to come up with people (cast), props (objects) and infrastructure (scenery). Those were the main brace map parts, and students dissected those main parts into the sub-parts of concrete nouns that would appear in those areas of the brace map if they were directing a play of the book.

From the brace map students easily wrote the Who What When Where and How song. Here’s an example of a verse hanging on my student Hall of Fame from The Handmaid’s Tale for Offred’s bedroom.

WHO: Offred Alone
WHAT: She lives simply
WHEN: Most of the time
WHERE: A Tiny Room
HOW: Forced to Remain

Each line has four beats. I lined up a singing volunteer from each group in front of the room so that the students could sing the story. The entire class sang the chorus between each verse. The chorus is just Who, what, when, where and how repeated twice. The entire class also did a call and response, calling out who, and letting the appropriate singer answer.

This day was met with mixed reviews from "one of the best classes ever" to "I am not going to sing."

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