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Hip Hop Speaks to Children

Last updated Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Author: Nikki Giovanni
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 1402210485
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2009

Synopsis: Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a celebration of poetry with a beat. Poetry can have both a rhyme and a rhythm. Sometimes it is obvious; sometimes it is hidden. But either way, make no mistake, poetry is as vibrant and exciting as it gets. And when you find yourself clapping your hands or tapping your feet, you know you've found poetry with a beat! Like Poetry Speaks to Children, the New York Times Bestselling classic poetry book and CD that started it all, Hip Hop Speaks to Children is meant to be the beginning of a journey of discovery. Read more than 50 remarkable poems and songs! Hear poetry's rhymes and rhythms from Queen Latifah to Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes to A Tribe Called Quest and more!

Note to readers:
•  Recommended Poems: Things – page 1, track 1 The Girls in the Circle – page 6, track 2 Ham ‘N’ Eggs – page 7, track 3 Music for Fun and Profit – pages 8-9, track 4 Dream Boogie – page 12, track 7 Books – page 28, track 19 Rapper’s Delight- page 16, tracks 10-11 Principle’s Office – pages 32-33, track 21 Everything is Everything – page 48-49 I Have a Dream – page 64-65, track 39
•  Note: You can choose any of the poems. Read the Introduction, as well as any side notes about each poem (like the author’s life).

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know what hip hop is?
•  Do you know what poetry is?
•  Do you think songs can be poems, or if poems could be songs? (For example, “Twinkle Twinkle”)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do you think this poem is about?
•  Did you notice any rhymes?
•  Can you find the meter?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Hip Hop Mother’s Day song/poem. Have the kids start listing the nice things their moms do for them. Then (with your help) think of words that rhyme with what they describe. Look at or read "From Hey Mama" by Kanye West , which is on page 11 of the book and For Word by Benjamin Zephaniah on page 29 for inspiration.
•  Make a Pop Up Birthday/Mother’s Day Card: Take a piece of construction paper and cut in half “hamburger” style. Fold each piece in half to form a card shape. Take one of the halves and make 2 cuts two inches apart on the folded edge. Fold down to create a crease. Open the half and push out the cuts to form a “table”. Glue this half to the other half of construction paper. (For fun, have the kids share their paper to they glue different colors together) You can cut the “table” half slightly smaller than the other half to create a colorful edge. Cut out a birthday cake shape, party hat shape, happy face shape or any other “pop up” you want and glue to the side of the “table”.
•  Make a Party Hat to Celebrate Reading to Kid's 10th Anniversary: Take construction paper and make into a cone shape by taking the two ends and slight rolling it into an ice cream cone. Make sure to leave a small hole at the top, so streamers can be inserted. Streamers can be made by cutting strips of construction paper and rolling them with a pencil to make a curl. Glue or tape streamers to the top of the hat. Then, cut out shapes or draw to decorate party hat. Also, cut out the numbers 1 and 0 to be glued onto the hat. Lastly, poke holes onto the bottom sides of the hat and string yarn through it.

Special activities:
•  Give each student a number, starting with 1.
•  Have the odd-numbered kids write down a question beginning with “Why …
•  Have the even-numbered kids write a sentence beginning with the word, “because.”
•  When everyone is done writing their sentences, have #1 read his/her question aloud. Then ask #2 read his/her answer.
•  Go through each number, and see what they came up with. You can do this again, asking them to write something related to birthdays and parties.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!