Using Old Literacies in a New Way

Advertisements, Primary Documents, and Hip Hop Songs


Advertisements are an important text type because they use both functional and narrative language and visual images to inform and persuade audiences. There are several aspects you can teach while using advertisements as a genre: text structure and purpose, and academic language. In the sample lesson in this chapter the teacher had her students compare various advertisements from a company. The students then wrote letters letters to the company highlighting their opinions about their advertisements. The students then decided to begin an "advertising awareness campaign" to educate their peers on how to read an advertisement critically.

Primary Documents

Students studied the Dust bowl. They read and viewed primary documents from this event in history. Visualization skills were focused on by using photographs from this time period. Students also read and analyzed primary documents such as maps, speeches, and other documents. Students also read and reflected about nonfiction text and historical fiction text that were preselected by the teacher about the Dust Bowl. Students then used what they had learned from this time period to create historical fiction stories using digital storytelling.

Hip Hop Songs

Educators are using Hip Hop songs to teach comparing and contrasting formulating arguments, identifying supporting evidence, expanding vocabulary, and developing higher-order thinking skills. The most common way educators use Hip Hop is to connect poetry to song lyrics of rap music. Young people have a high interest in music. Rap music has seemed to be the most popular genre of young people today. Hip Hop lyrics embody metaphors and other figurative language traits such as irony, satire, and simile. In this chapter the teacher in the sample lesson began this unit by having students study the self expression of individual rap songs and how a person's environment and life circumstances inspire the lyrics. Next students set up their own raps by taking a walk around the community and took pictures of things that inspired them. They then wrote their own raps using the photographs they took of their community. Students were very excited about the Hip Hop unit and challenged themselves to think creatively.