Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mix Master Fresh

We have a thing at McReynolds called Team Time. In its essence, it is supposed to be an hour long tutorial time built in to the end of our day. It doesn't always work like that, but that's what it's supposed to be. Right now, we don't have schedules set, so I have a bunch of kids who aren't mine. No biggie, I've got plenty of basic engish/grammar stuff to work on. I also have the best motivator of all: a Mac.

My kids never fail to love my computer in every way shape and form. And why shouldn't they? Macs are cool. Every day after about 45 minutes of work I let them spend the last 15 minutes on the class computers and playing with my computer. The other day I opened up my itunes to find a mix courtesy of my kids. It's entitled "Because Miss Thompson Needs to Learn to Get Down." So true kids, so true. It's actually a pretty good mix. It is a little awkward to have my students pick out Dem Jeans and Smack That for me though. I realize that I have those songs on my computer, but still. Weird.

Capitalizing on their creativity I asked them to make a few more mixes. I have a very diverse group of kids so they like all sorts of music — even some of mine. They got really into having people in my life to make mixes for. It was funny to watch and I think I'm going to use their mix making love into a lesson about tone in writing.

They've made two mixes so far. One for Laura entitled "Because I Said So" (she's a foster mom) and the other for Nick entitled "Mr. Williams' Hang Tough Mix" (he is still in the first year teacher pit of despair).

The great thing about these mixes is hearing them fight over what songs to put on. There was heated debate about the inclusion of one song on Nick's CD because the boys thought it was too depressing and you shouldn't give someone who is already sad a sad song. I had to go with the guys on that one. There was also questions about whether or not Laura could appreciate some faster tempo songs... because she has babies and all. On both mixes they put the song Walk it Out. Apparently that song has universal meaning.

My favorite explanation of song inclusion came when they put Eye of Tiger on Nick's mix. I was actually shocked that they knew what that song was. I told them as much and Esperanza looked at me and said "Well, duh, Miss. He's a gym teacher. Coach Arriaga plays that song in gym class like every day."

Silly me. Eye of the Tiger also has universal meaning.

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