Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PRAP time

     Today's a big day for many students throughout New York State...the ELA test begins today.  I know that at our school, the students have been amply prepared by reading a lot of great books, learning about essays and practicing sample questions.  I hope these skills stick with my students long beyond this week's test.  I know many teachers pull out all of the stops when preparing students for the test; we sing, dance, even hop on the desks to draw the children into these lessons. One clever colleague invented a rap to help her children remember some important strategies for test-taking success.  She calls it the P-rap.

P- preview the questions
R- read carefully
A- answer the questions
P- prove it

   Today, I will attempt a controversial style of poem- a rap.  I think Mrs.Winiecki's rap (above) is just fine, but at her request, I will embellish it.  Rap as poetry is highly debatable.  Some feel that as an artistic expression, with rhythm and rhyme, rap is absolutely a viable form of poetry.  Other people believe that this type of music isn't sophisticated enough to count as a poetic device.  I'll leave the debate to the essayists...right now, I must rap!

Kickin' It!
By Melinda Harvey

C'mon gather round for today's the day
We're gonna kick it on the ELA
We've written papers, read lots of books
We know all about effective hooks!

One more time, 'fore the test comes out
Do the P-rap with me, let me hear you shout!
P is for preview, we're gonna read
all the questions first so we focus where we need
R is for reading, we'll do it with care
underlining, branding, highlighting here and there
A is for answer, we'll slash the trash
Getting every one correct, we will not abash*
P is for prove it, that's what we'll do
I'll go back to the text to show I know it's true

So c'mon teacher, bring it...give us the test
It's the ELA and we're gonna do our best
You showed us the way, we'll walk the path
And after ELA, we'll do the same with Math!

*abash means to cause to be embarassed

     There you have it, Mrs.Winiecki, and everyone else...chant it one more time and then pass out those tests.  They're ready for it!


  1. As a recently retired teacher who has great sympathy for everyone facing the state tests today, I say right-on Mrs. Harvey. Love your RAP. I heard Taylor Mali read many quotes at NYSEC this fall where famous poets and writers defined poetry. It is an expansive genre, for sure. Look at PACYA today to find a post with articles on poetry from the Horn Book archives. In a way poetry is inclusive and that is its beauty. Maybe it is true that poetry is in the eye of the beholder......I see it as a range and a breadth and a depth of expression. So a state test prep rap...in poetic form like a jingle or a nursery rhyme, has validity and a place IMO,... and if it catches and stays and informs and helps and advises kids....well I think it should count!!! So you get my vote!

    1. I would have loved to use it--You need to publish earlier--Again crazy 2am posting time!!!
      Super Job!