Dropping rhymes is nothing new for Jennifer Craig.
“I do a rhyme at the start of every class. One day, one of the girls asked, ‘When are you going to write the rest of that song?’ I thought, ‘That’s a great idea.’ So, I wrote it that night,” said Mrs. Craig.
The song in question is about the steps students need to take to compose an essay. But, songs need more than just verses. Mrs. Craig is an expert at composing lyrics. Music, not so much.
Enter choral teacher Bobby Morano. He composed the music and invited the entire English Language Arts middle school staff to the Black Knight Recording Studio at Windsor Central High School.
“I thought it would take more rehearsing, but they all did a really good job. Mrs. Craig said they had rehearsed at the middle school, and it was clear they had worked on it. They did it in time and in character. It was really cool,” said Mr. Morano.
“Each teacher performed a section of how to create an essay,” said Mrs. Craig.
Did the song help students with the lesson?
“I shared it with them twice before we wrote the last essay, and a I used the lyrics in the song. I’d ask where does the thesis go, and they’d go through the rhyme in their head and come up with the answer,” said Mrs. Craig.
"It has helped me remember the stages of an essay, and how I should write it," said Dacia Whiting.
"I think of the song and it helps me never give up, keep trying, and always believing myself,” said Noah Riley.
Mr. Morano sees a greater connection between music, memory, and learning.
“I wish more people did this. I remember learning a math problem in high school, and I’m terrible at math, but they did it to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel, and I still remember it. It still sticks with me. Maybe that’s because music speaks to me. I’ve seen it help people. It makes it fun for whoever is practicing it,” said Mr. Morano.
“Trying to come up ways to teach ways to engage kids in the writing process through music or rhymes is something I’ll definitely try to do more of,” said Mrs. Craig.