Rap reports

The Stage 2 students and I had a great time this week writing up their sports reports for the Beijing Olympics & Book Week 2008. They came to the library with their class teacher (who is brand new to rapping) – usually we’ve had two rotating groups instead, but with the industrial action of yesterday morning, there were lots of students still absent in the afternoon.

We went through the key elements of a newspaper sports report/article, using the supplied Rap Sheet, then read and analysed the “Kiwis vs Wallabies” report from The Shaggy Gully Times by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley. When it came time to break into writing groups, the students were highly motivated, and they were so empowered whenever they made up a clever pun. Of course, it really helped that one of the students was fresh off the plane from her recent visit to Beijing – and that the extremely fast gold-medal winning Jamaican athlete she told us about had the highly punny surname of Bolt!

By the way, it only occurred to us later why that Shaggy Gully football match was being played at night!

Yes, it’s been a a busy term, but traditionally Term Three always is in school libraries: Book Week, National Literacy & Numeracy Week, and all that.

Rap Point 2 stretched across two weeks this time, on purpose, and it was also okay to post a bit late, since each school in the rap tends to work at a different pace. There had been a few new schools only just starting to look around the pages and/or noticing the newer messages on earlier rap points.

I decided to concentrate on prediction that week. I like to get the students to anticipate what might be coming next, so we predicted how we would:
* find the rap blog, with which search terms (eg. on Google)
* recognise our post from last week (ie. look out for school crest avatar).

Also, we predicted the contents of the page of The Shaggy Gully Times we’d be reading in the rap session. I asked one group of students to make predictions as to what they’d see inside the local newspaper when I unrolled it (fresh from my front lawn). Local newspapers are a great free resource, and many times they only get noticed by the students when they are asked to clean out the budgies’ cage, or collect newspapers for covering school desks during art, or when making papier mache.

The students were very engaged in skimming the layout, quickly identifying and confirming almost all their predictions about the newspaper. The standard of talking and listening was very pleasing – they were perceptive, and supportive of each other’s earlier ideas.

I hope this is an activity they will be able to repeat with their parents. (And that the newspaper they choose doesn’t have too many full page ads for local attractions such as “Wild Boys Afloat”, etc.) Several students reported recently that they’d personally gone online and shown their parents the current rap blog on their home Internet computers. One girl said, “I even printed out the page that had my name and comment on it.”