Thursday, July 7, 2016

History, Hamilton and Hip-Hop

At the end of the school year, a student came to the library asking for a book on John Laurens. She told me she had been listening to the music from Hamilton and was interested in this historical figure. We couldn't find a book, but used the Gale databases to find some information about him.

This week I have been road tripping and decided to listen to the soundtrack from Hamilton for myself. I was amazed! On my first trip stop, I spent hours researching the facts revealed in the songs. The opening song alone, "Alexander Hamilton", offers a succinct summary of the life of Hamilton in a mix of rap and hip-hop style. Below is a video of the show's creator Lin-Manuel Miranda performing an early version of the song:



A famous person project is a classic research project assigned by many teachers. The research  is usually turned in via a poster, report, or PowerPoint. How boring! And old-school!!

Have those students create a rap like Lin-Manuel Miranda. Or a spoken word poem. Or a monologue. Collaborate with your English teachers to write the text. Plan a "Bringing History to Life" night and have the students perform and share their work. Invite the local newspaper or television station. Video these performances and share them on YouTube for others to see. Transform your students' learning from a paper project of regurgitated facts to a living testament to a person who contributed to the story of humanity.

Get inspired by Hamilton and make history live and breathe in your classroom.

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