As we drew near the end of our Lincoln assassination unit, I struggled with how to assess student learning. Sure, I could inflict the same-old, same-old: a test or an essay.
Instead, I decided to try something a little more creative. I challenged the students to tell the story of Lincoln’s assassination through a rap battle.
Here’s the instructions I gave to the students:
Listen up kids, cause I’m about to tattle:
You and a partner will create a Rap Battle!
The battle must be epic, or you’ll be sorry
It should teach us about Lincoln’s story
Choose a famous person who stands on the right
And on the left the person with whom they fight
The weapons they use are factual words
This ain’t no game of Angry Birds!
Remember: your battle must use actual facts
When your adversaries go on attack
The results were stunning. And, not only in terms of the outcome (which were creative and full of facts), but also in terms of completion rate. Prior to the rap battle, I had assigned a persuasive writing project to my students. Out of the 85 students in 8th grade, 33 did not complete the writing assignment on time. The rap battle, on the other hand, was waaaay more successful. Only two students failed to meet the deadline.
Here’s a few samples of what I received:
Sometimes you need to work on the fundamentals. But, once in awhile, shake things up with something a little more creative!