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Favorite Things – The Sound of Music

This could be used as a mentor text along with the format for the “Where I’m From” poem to have the students create poems to introduce themselves to the class.

“My Favorite Things”

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

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Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw

Using Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” as a prompt, have the students write out some of the things that are on their “Bucket Lists” and then focus on one or two of those things and either elaborate further or develop a narrative/short story about them. Or, if a student has already experienced an item off their bucket list they could write a creative non-fiction piece about that experience.

“Live Like You Were Dying”

He said
“I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days
Looking at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options
And talkin’ ’bout sweet time”
I asked him
“When it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit you
When you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d you do?”

He said
“I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”

He said
“I was finally the husband
That most of the time I wasn’t
And I became a friend a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden going fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again
And then

I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named fu man chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying
Like tomorrow was a gift
And you’ve got eternity
To think about
What you’d do with it
What could you do with it
What did I do with it?
What would I do with it?

Skydiving
I went Rocky mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named fu man chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I watched an eagle as it was flying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying”

The Saga Begins – Weird Al Yankovic

Lyrics for songs such as “The Saga Begins” could be used to to teach the idea of parody; this could be a fun exercise for any writer, and ¬†writers who are not yet comfortable with sharing their own writing may find it easier to re-write something familiar. This could also lead into a discussion of copyright and fair use.

“The Saga Begins”

A long long time ago
In a galaxy far away
Naboo was under an attack

And I thought me and Qui Gon Jin
Could talk the federation into maybe cutting them a little Slack
But their response, it didn’t thrill us
They locked the doors and tried to kill us
We escaped from that gas
And met Jar Jar in Bosnas
We took a bongo from the scene
And went to Theed to see the Queen
We all wound up on Tatooine
That’s where we found this boy

Oh my, my this here Annakin guy
Maybe Vader someday later
Now he’s just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mummy goodbye
Saying “Soon, I’m gonna be a Jedi”
“Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi.”

Did you know this junkyard slave
Isn’t even old enough to shave?
But he can use the force they say
Ah, do you see him hitting on the Queen?
Though he’s just nine
And she’s fourteen
Yeah, he’s probably going to marry her some day

Well I know he built C3PO
And I’ve heard how fast his pod can go
And we were broke, it’s true
So we made a wager or two

He was a pre-pubescent flying ace
And the minute Jabba started off that race
Well, I knew who would win first place
Oh yes, it was our boy

We started singing:

My, my this here Annakin guy
Maybe Vader someday later
Now he’s just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mummy goodbye
Saying “Soon, I’m gonna be a Jedi”
“Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi.”

Now we finally got to Coruscant
The Jedi council we knew would want
To see how good the boy could be
So we took him there and we told the tale
How his midichloreans readings were off the scale
And he might fulfill that prophesy

Oh the council was impressed of course
‘Could he bring balance to the force?
They interviewed the kid
Oh training they forbid

Because Yoda sensed in him much fear
And Quigon said “Now listen here
Just stick it in your pointy ear
I still will teach this boy

He was singing:

My, my this here Annakin guy
Maybe Vader someday later
Now he’s just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mummy goodbye
Saying “Soon, I’m gonna be a Jedi”
“Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi.”

We caught a ride back to Naboo
‘Cause Queen Amadala wanted to
I frankly would have liked to stay
We all fought in that epic war
And it wasn’t long at all before
Little hotshot flew his plane
And saved the day

And in the end some gunguns died
Some ships blew up
And some pilots fried
A lot of folks were croakin’
The battle droids were broken
And the Jedi I admire most
Met up with Darth Maul
And now he’s toast
I’m still here and he’s a ghost
I guess I’ll train this boy

And I was singin’:

My, my this here Annakin guy
Maybe Vader someday later
Now he’s just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mummy goodbye
Saying “Soon, I’m gonna be a Jedi”
“Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi.”

We were singing:

My, my this here Annakin guy
Maybe Vader someday later
Now he’s just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mummy goodbye
Saying “Soon, I’m gonna be a Jedi”
“Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi.”

Original Don McLean song:

The Times They Are A-Changing

Discuss the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing.” What is Dylan’s message in the song? How has this song been used since it was written? What is it about Dylan’s writing that makes his songs still relevant 40 years later? Use this as a prompt to get students to write either prose or poetry on a relevant media topic of their choice.

“The Times They Are A-Changing” by Bob Dylan

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

House of the Rising Sun (The Animals)

Have the students read over these lyrics. What is happening in this song? How many interpretations do they come up with? How does the songwriter use words to create the story in this song?

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new blue jeans
My father was a gamblin’ man
Down in New Orleans

Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and trunk
And the only time he’s satisfied
Is when he’s on a drunk

Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun

Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

Well, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one

After discussing the lyrics on paper, watch the video below. Does your interpretation of the lyrics change? How does hearing the words differ from reading them?