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The Music of Poetry in the Caribbean
Penny Riffe and Nelson Salazar
Eau Gallie High School
Brevard County, Florida
Caribbean Diversity Brevard Public Schools
Title: The Music of Poetry in the Caribbean
Overview: How music and poetry are related and reveal much about a culture, its
language and people.
Time Required: 2 weeks
LA: 11th grade
WL: Spanish 1, 2
Music of Poetry Handout
CD player or iPod speakers
Copies of music lyrics and songs for the following:
Drupatee Ramgoonai's "Roll up de Tassa, or Mr. Bessessar"
Mighty Sparrow's "Barack de Magnificent" and "No Money, No Love"
Harry Belafonte's "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)"
Akon' s "Mama Africa"
*any lyrics/songs of Caribbean influence may be substituted
To introduce the analysis of the speaker in poetry through Caribbean music
To analyze songs and lyrics for poetic devices and figurative language
To apply an analysis and study of song lyrics to songs of Caribbean influence
1. Explain to students that the speaker in song lyrics or a poem may or may not be
the author or person singing the song. Students should be able to make a
distinction of the speaker in order to proceed with the lesson.
2. Hand out lyrics for each of the songs chosen for this lesson and have students
practice reading them aloud. Model this activity by reading one of the songs for
3. Instruct students to fill in the Music of Poetry (handout) as they listen to the
songs. Ask students to consider the topic of the organizer as a means to write a
comparison between two of the speakers in the songs.
4. Play each of the songs selected for this lesson and ask students to listen carefully
marking the text by highlighting or underlining references to the speaker of the
lyrics (noticing any personal pronouns). Have students complete the Music of
Poetry page (handout) by answering as if they were the speaker.
5. Ask students to think about the speaker's age, feelings, etc. and review the theme
of the lyrics. Discuss the themes of poems previously covered in class. Compare
and contrast those themes and speakers, briefly. Remind students to focus on the
speaker of the lyrics, not the person who is singing the song.
6. Ask students to return to the song lyrics and identify the poetic devices.
7. Play a piece of jazz that does not have any lyrics and ask students to write down
words and phrases that describe the pictures the piece of music creates in their
8. Finally, ask students to take their words and phrases and create a poem, minimum
75 words, based on the activity. Students can share their poems via VoiceThread
(www.voicethread.com) in which they read the poem and provide images. Other
students will listen and make comments as to their interpretations of the poem.
9. The poem will become part of the poetry anthology of Caribbean literature.
1. What worked well with this series of activities?
2. What might be changed the next time this activity is presented?
Poetry of Music Handout completed 25 points
Poem containing 3 figurative/literary devices, minimum of 75 words, proper format:
total 50 points
(A+)10=Extremely Strong (A/B+)9=Strong (B)8=Moderately Strong (C)7=Average
(D)6=Moderately Weak (F)5=Weak
1. The organization of the poem is clear and easy to follow
2. The poem is expressive, descriptive, and creative
3. The poem contains figurative/literary devices
4. The poem contains effective mechanics, proper spelling, and correct word usage
5. The content of the poem demonstrates an understanding of the material, content,
Poetry of Music Handout
Fill in the boxes after listening to the songs. Discover the following information about
the speaker based on the lyrics read and heard. Use lines from the song or your own
Song Title What facts can you What is he/she What is the
infer about the thinking about? speaker's message?
speaker? Questions, life, love, liberty,
Looking back through the lyrics and while listening to the songs presented, write
examples of the following literary/figurative devices used in the lyrics. If you cannot
find examples for any area, write one of your own.
Simile Metaphor Personification Alliteration Rhyme,
In a paragraph or two, minimum of 200 words, write a comparison/contrast of two of the
speakers in the songs that you have read and listened to in class today. Use the
information gathered through marking the text and listed in the chart above. You may
write on the back of this handout. If using notebook paper, staple the paper to the back of
LA MUJSICA EN EL CARIBE
Materials: Computers, CD players.
Objective: Students will identify geographical locations of the country assigned, and
present in the target language the influence of the music in the country's culture.
1. Identify geographical location of country assigned.
2. Identify style of music.
3. Identify artist.
4. Give a brief background.
a. History of the country.
b. Origin of style of the music.
c. Give an example of lyricss, rhythmss, instrument, etc, and show how
it had an influence in the culture of the country.
5. Provide a visual(s) (photo, album cover, video, historic pictures )
6. Provide a typed copy of your presentation, at time of presentation.
Note: song and visual must be decent no foul language, racial innuendos,
graphic images, etc.
cantar tocar escribirgustar
la guitarra el sax6fono la trompeta la bacteria
el/la cantante el estilo el ritmo los tambores
la salsael reggae el merengue el rock
el hip-hop el reggae ton el punk el rock metalica
el country la musica alternative la musica orquestral
la musica clasica los versos los premios los triunfos
los exitos el/la ganador(a) el/la escritor(a) el/la actor/actriz
bailar la canci6n el titulo la melodia el tema
Algunas preguntas para ayudar: (use the following questions to help you
prepare for your presentation)
1. ,C6mo se llama el grupo? El/la artist?
2. De d6nde viene(n)? De d6nde es (son)?
3. Cual (que tipo de) estilo de music toca?
4. ,De quien aprendio?
5. ,Quien le ensefio?
6. 6,D6nde aprendio?
7. ,C6mo y/o cuando empez6?
8. ,Por cuanto tiempo ha estado (has he been) tocando?
9. Siempre ha tocado (has he played) el mismo (same) estilo?
10. ,Canta? es el/la cantante principal.
11. ,Toca un instrument? Cual?
13. ,Hace un poco de todo?
14. ,Escribe las canciones? ,Los versos? ,Las liricas?
15. ,Ha aparecido (appeared) en una pelicula? La tele? ,Un video de music?
16. ,Porque escogiste este artista/grupo?
a. ,Su ritmo melodia? Sus canciones y versos? ,Su voz? ,Su
aparencia? ,Su mensaje? ,Otra cosa?
17. ,C6mo te hace sentir cuando escuchas su musica?
Assessment: The following rubric will be used to score the project, worth 100
points. The top part of the rubric (completeness of your task) will be used to score
the written part of your project.
Rubric Low Score Average Score High Score
Complete You provided some of You provide most of You provide all of the
ness of the information the information information required.
your task required. required.
Score (0- 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,
33) 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,1 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,1 12,13
Score (33) 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,2 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,2 22,23,
24,25,26,27,28,29,30,3 24,25,26,27,28,29,30,3 32,33,34
How You are difficult to You are fairly easy to You are easy to
easily you understand and have understand and have understand and have
are many grammatical occasional very few grammatical
understood errors. grammatical errors. errors.
0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,1 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,1 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,
Score (0- 1,12,13 1,12,13 1213
14,15,16,17,18,19,20,2 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,2 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,
Max. 1,22,23, 1,22,23, 22,23,
24,25,26,27,28,29,30,3 24,25,26,27,28,29,30,3 24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,
1,32,33 1,32,33 32,33,34
relevant to the theme
of this project. The
music did not show the
influence it has in the
information that was
somewhat relevant to
the theme of this
project. The music
shows somewhat the
influence it has in the
information that was
relevant to the theme of
this project. The music
shows the influence it
has in the culture.
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