Hip hop education 6- another twist to encourage reading

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Down to his last 2 million…

This session used lyrics from rapper Young Jeezy’s “Soul Survivor” to drive home some comprehension lessons. The kids responded to this well. Whatever works.. Er, some lyrics had to be “cleaned up” for educational consumption.. :)

“Soul Survivor” Young Jeezy feat Akon

[Verse 1 (Young Jeezy):]

(Let’s get it) Tonight I can’t sleep–we livin’ in Hell

First they, give us the work then they throw us in jail

Road Trip ya–I’m merchandising in the white

Please Lord don’t let me go to jail tonight (Yeah)

Who Me?? I’m a Soul Survivor

Ask about ‘em in the street, the boy Jeez a rida (Jeez a rida)

A hundred grand on my wrist, yeah life sucks

Duck the club, dawg, I rather count a million bucks



[Verse 2 (Young Jeezy):]

Another day, another dolla (dolla)-same block, same people, same part, same green

I guess we got the same dreams (Ayy)

Or is it the same nightmares (nightmares)

We let the doves do it for us — we don’t cry tears (That’s right)

Real gangsters don’t budge

When Mail Man got his time he shot birds at the judge

I’m knee deep in the game

So when it’s time to re-up, I’m knee deep in the cane

Real talk, Look, I’m tellin’ you Wayne (tellin’ you Wayne)

If you get jammed up don’t mention my name

Forgive me Lord–I know I aint livin’ right

Gotta feed the block, people starving, they got appetites)

And this is er’day, it never gets old (Old)

Thought I was a juvenile stuck to the G-Code (Yeah)

This aint a rap song, people this is my life (this is my life)

And if the hood was a battlefield then I’d earn stripes

Learning using William Blake’s “The Tyger” – Part 1

A little video I made… Blake posed the question as to how the Mighty One could make both the powerful, fearful tiger and the yielding, innocent lamb. Part 1 of this session focused on reading the text followed by some comprehension questions. It is interesting that Blake taught his wife Catherine to read, and she helped color some of his illustrations.

By William Blake 1757–1827 William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Keeping the “good” and “little” in children: recipies for resisting the wired world’s corrosive influence


In her books Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl (2010) and Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy (2012) author Cannah Gresh offers excellent observations on how the “wired world” and the electronic media is eroding family life, transferring attention and energy to other venues, lessening actual human contact and ability to see beyond “me”, and creating kids with shorter attention spans as electronic distractions loom larger. Of the 17 books she has written, she says the two above have been the most draining, Quote from Six Ways to keep the “Good” in Your Boy:


“Out of the 17 books I’ve written, Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl and this one have been the most emotionally draining for me. Why? Because our family is full of drama. We are often fighting to keep the “little” and the “good” in our family. We pick fights when our kids reach for the tree and I don’t like it…

I realize that television, cell phones, iPods and other technology also whisk our boys away from reality into a world that’s often unsafe. Overall, the average boy will absorb 38 hours a week of video games, computer time, music, television and radio. One of the obvious problems with being so plugged in is this: If your son is glued to a screen for 38 hours a week and, as most do, attends a public or private school, how much time does that leave for you to interact with him to form a value system that directs him towards “good”?.

Remember a prerequisite of being “good: is that your son is wired and programmed to consider the needs of others- tho think outside his own desired and be useful to his family and community.) It’s the fact that sitting in front of a screen is becoming an addiction in and of itself. We have seen it with gaming. A screen is the ultimate distraction.”
–Dannah Gresh Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy


A good read for parents, particularly of boys, who are in trouble these days- from greater incidences of suicide and violence to declining educational performance. To reverse these trends will take hard work. Politicians and bureaucrats will not get the job done.

Problems getting services for children with autism – one mother’s story


Getting services for children with autism is still a problem for too many moms. Had a nice lunchtime visit with one mom, where the topic came up, as seen in the video segment below. It should not come to having to sue a school district to get services but that is the case for some mothers. Hopefully there are better avenues to resolve problems before they get that far. One thing struck me in making this video. Tyler Cowen’s book on “the autistic economy” asserts that the digital era has opened up bold new opportunities for persons with autism. But what if kids or adults with autism do not have much interest in computers or digital technology?


On another note, this mom did negotiate a super discount on a Walmart display video camera – 20% and no more the manager said firmly. But she kept smiling and asking and he caved for over 30%. I got a snippet of the moment on film. She was impressive!