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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Hip-Hop and Yemen - by Sean Banville

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January 17, 2010

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Rapper Fights Yemen Terror with Hip-Hop

A Yemeni-American rapper is using music to help fight terrorism in his country. Rapper Hagage 'AJ' Masaed believes he can help in the fight against terrorism and slow down the number of Yemenis joining Al Qaeda training camps. He says his music and the messages in his raps show young people there is an alternative to fighting. He told reporters his raps work better in Yemen because people there listen to the words: "In Yemen, people listen to the message. In the US they listen to the beat and a hook line. Here they go into the words and discuss them," he says. Masaed raps in a mixture of Arabic and English. His latest rap combines traditional Arab instruments with hip-hop beats and is called ‘No Terrorists Please’.


AJ recently did a radio interview on America’s NPR network. In it, he described himself as The Snoop Dogg of Yemen. He understands he will probably never achieve the same level of popularity. The biggest reason is the lack of technology available in Yemen. Most people have no access to a CD player and computers are even more rare. He was realistic in telling NPR that his message will have a hard time getting out of the capital Sana’a. AJ explained why he thought Al Qaeda was becoming more popular: “Most of the people in Yemen are good people. The lack of jobs, lack of money, lack of understanding about, I don't know, arts, music and all of that - people are being pushed to go to the other side.”


  The transcript to the NPR interview is here.
 

WARM-UPS

1. RAP AND HIP-HOP: Walk around the class and talk to other students about rap and hip-hop. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

rapper / Yemen / fighting terrorism / Al Qaeda / listening to song words / instruments / radio interviews / radio stations / popularity / technology / realistic / lack of jobs

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. FIGHTING TERRORISM: How might these help? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share your ideas. Change and share again.

 

How it would work

Drawbacks

Song

 

 

Education

 

 

War

 

 

Occupation

 

 

Movies

 

 

Financial Aid

 

 

4. RAPS: Students A strongly believe raps can help keep people away from terrorism; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. MUSIC: What’s your favourite kind? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner – best at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • rap
  • soul
  • rock
  • classical
  • folk
  • world music
  • movie soundtracks
  • romantic

6. RADIO: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘radio’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

A rap artist is using his raps to stop people becoming terrorists.

T / F

b.

The rapper believes Yemenis listen to words more than Americans.

T / F

c.

The rapper says Yemenis rarely discuss what they hear in his raps.

T / F

d.

The rapper’s most recent rap combines Arab instruments and hip-hop.

T / F

e.

Rapper Snoop Dogg described himself as the American AJ Masaed.

T / F

f.

There are fewer computers in Yemen than CD players.

T / F

g.

The rapper believes his message will spread quickly across Yemen.

T / F

h.

The rapper believes a lack of musical understanding is a problem.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

fight

a.

meaning

2

messages

b.

forced

3.

alternative

c.

mixes

4.

mixture

d.

reach

5.

combines

e.

combat

6.

achieve

f.

uncommon

7.

lack

g.

substitute

8.

rare

h.

knowledge

9.

understanding

i.

absence

10.

pushed

j.

combination

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

using music to help

a.

camps

2

Al Qaeda training

b.

time getting out

3.

there is an alternative to

c.

of Arabic and English

4.

listen to

d.

radio interview

5.

Masaed raps in a mixture

e.

access to a CD

6.

AJ recently did a

f.

fight terrorism

7.

achieve the same level

g.

fighting

8.

Most people have no

h.

go to the other side

9.

have a hard

i.

the beat

10.

people are being pushed to

j.

of popularity

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

A Yemeni-American rapper is using music to ____________ fight terrorism in his country. Rapper Hagage 'AJ' Masaed believes he can help in the fight against terrorism and ____________ down the number of Yemenis joining Al Qaeda ____________ camps. He says his music and the ____________ in his raps show young people there is an alternative to fighting. He told reporters his raps work ____________ in Yemen because people there listen to the words: "In Yemen, people listen to the message. In the US they listen to the ____________ and a hook line. Here they go into the words and ____________ them," he says. Masaed raps in a mixture of Arabic and English. His latest rap ____________ traditional Arab instruments with hip-hop beats and is called ‘No Terrorists Please’.

 

 

 

messages
slow
combines
discuss
help
beat
training
better

AJ ____________ did a radio interview on America’s NPR network. In it, he described himself as The Snoop Dogg of Yemen. He understands he will ____________ never achieve the same level of popularity. The biggest reason is the ____________ of technology available in Yemen. Most people have no ____________ to a CD player and computers are even more rare. He was ____________ in telling NPR that his message will have a hard ____________ getting out of the capital Sana’a. AJ explained why he thought Al Qaeda was becoming more ____________: “Most of the people in Yemen are good people. The lack of jobs, lack of money, lack of understanding about, I don't know, arts, music and all of that - people are being ____________ to go to the other side.”

 

 

time
access
probably
pushed
recently
realistic
popular
lack

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

A Yemeni-American rapper is using ____________________ terrorism in his country. Rapper Hagage 'AJ' Masaed believes he can help in the fight against terrorism ____________________ number of Yemenis joining Al Qaeda training camps. He says his music and the messages in his raps show young people there ____________________ fighting. He told reporters his raps work better in Yemen because people there listen to the words: "In Yemen, people listen to the message. In the US ____________________ beat and a hook line. Here ____________________ and discuss them," he says. Masaed raps in a mixture of Arabic and English. His latest ____________________ Arab instruments with hip-hop beats and is called ‘No Terrorists Please’.

AJ ____________________ interview on America’s NPR network. In it, he described himself as The Snoop Dogg of Yemen. He understands he will probably never ____________________ of popularity. The biggest reason is the lack of technology available in Yemen. Most people ____________________ CD player and computers are even more rare. He was realistic in telling NPR that his message will have ____________________ out of the capital Sana’a. AJ explained why he thought Al Qaeda was becoming more popular: “Most of the people in Yemen are good people. ____________________, lack of money, lack of understanding about, I don't know, arts, music and all of that - people are being pushed to ____________________.”



 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘hip’ and ‘hop’.

hip

hop

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • help
  • slow
  • show
  • reporters
  • mixture
  • combines
  • described
  • achieve
  • access
  • rare
  • popular
  • pushed

STUDENT RAP AND HIP-HOP SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about rap and hip-hop in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

RAP AND HIP-HOP DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘rap’?

c)

What did you think of this article?

d)

Do you think AJ will do any good in Yemen?

e)

What do you think of the idea of using rap to fight terrorism?

f)

What do you think of rap?

g)

Do you prefer to listen to the music or the words?

h)

Do you like music that combines sounds from different cultures?

i)

What do you know about Yemen?

j)

What do you think of the title ‘No Terrorists Please’ for a rap?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What message would you like to give to AJ?

c)

Do you think he can change anything in Yemen even though he’s American?

d)

Why is Al Qaeda growing in Yemen?

e)

Do you think the US Army should consider using rap to fight terror?

f)

How important is rap and hip-hop in your culture?

g)

Do you think a lack of understanding about music and arts leads to people joining terrorist groups?

h)

What would you rap about?

i)

What is it about rap music that makes it popular all over the world?

j)

What questions would you like to ask AJ?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

A Yemeni-American (1) ____ is using music to help fight terrorism in his country. Rapper Hagage 'AJ' Masaed believes he can help in the fight against terrorism and (2) ____ down the number of Yemenis joining Al Qaeda training camps. He says his music and the messages in his raps show young people there is an alternative (3) ____ fighting. He told reporters his raps work better in Yemen because people there listen to the (4) ____: "In Yemen, people listen to the message. In the US they listen to the beat and a hook (5) ____. Here they go into the words and discuss them," he says. Masaed raps in a mixture of Arabic and English. His latest rap combines traditional Arab instruments (6) ____ hip-hop beats and is called ‘No Terrorists Please’.

AJ recently (7) ____ a radio interview on America’s NPR network. In it, he described himself as The Snoop Dogg of Yemen. He understands he will probably never achieve the same level (8) ____ popularity. The biggest reason is the lack of technology available in Yemen. Most people have (9) ____ access to a CD player and computers are even more rare. He was (10) ____ in telling NPR that his message will have a hard time getting out of the capital Sana’a. AJ explained why he thought Al Qaeda was (11) ____ more popular: “Most of the people in Yemen are good people. The lack of jobs, lack of money, lack of understanding about, I don't know, arts, music and all of that - people are being pushed to go to the (12) ____ side.”

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

wrapper

(b)

whopper

(c)

ripper

(d)

rapper

2.

(a)

slow

(b)

slowly

(c)

slowed

(d)

slowish

3.

(a)

at

(b)

by

(c)

to

(d)

on

4.

(a)

lyric

(b)

words

(c)

word

(d)

letters

5.

(a)

sentence

(b)

line

(c)

paragraph

(d)

phrase

6.

(a)

on

(b)

at

(c)

with

(d)

to

7.

(a)

did

(b)

done

(c)

doing

(d)

do

8.

(a)

to

(b)

from

(c)

for

(d)

of

9.

(a)

none

(b)

not

(c)

no-no

(d)

no

10.

(a)

realism

(b)

realistic

(c)

really

(d)

reality

11.

(a)

becoming

(b)

became

(c)

becomes

(d)

become

12.

(a)

another

(b)

others

(c)

other

(d)

the other

WRITING

Write about rap and hip-hop for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about Yemen. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. RAP AND HIP-HOP: Make a poster about rap and hip-hop. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. SEALING: Write a magazine article about how AJ helped stop someone joining Al Qaeda. Include imaginary interviews with AJ and the person he helped.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to AJ. Ask him three questions about rap and hip-hop. Give him three pieces of advice on how he can help his people in Yemen. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

T

c.

F

d.

T

e.

F

f.

T

g.

F

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

fight

a.

combat

2

messages

b.

meaning

3.

alternative

c.

substitute

4.

mixture

d.

combination

5.

combines

e.

mixes

6.

achieve

f.

reach

7.

lack

g.

absence

8.

rare

h.

uncommon

9.

understanding

i.

knowledge

10.

pushed

j.

forced

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

using music to help

a.

fight terrorism

2

Al Qaeda training

b.

camps

3.

there is an alternative to

c.

fighting

4.

listen to

d.

the beat

5.

Masaed raps in a mixture

e.

of Arabic and English

6.

AJ recently did a

f.

radio interview

7.

achieve the same level

g.

of popularity

8.

Most people have no

h.

access to a CD

9.

have a hard

i.

time getting out

10.

people are being pushed to

j.

go to the other side

GAP FILL:

Rapper fights Yemen terror with hip-hop

A Yemeni-American rapper is using music to help fight terrorism in his country. Rapper Hagage 'AJ' Masaed believes he can help in the fight against terrorism and slow down the number of Yemenis joining Al Qaeda training camps. He says his music and the messages in his raps show young people there is an alternative to fighting. He told reporters his raps work better in Yemen because people there listen to the words: "In Yemen, people listen to the message. In the US they listen to the beat and a hook line. Here they go into the words and discuss them," he says. Masaed raps in a mixture of Arabic and English. His latest rap combines traditional Arab instruments with hip-hop beats and is called ‘No Terrorists Please’.

AJ recently did a radio interview on America’s NPR network. In it, he described himself as The Snoop Dogg of Yemen. He understands he will probably never achieve the same level of popularity. The biggest reason is the lack of technology available in Yemen. Most people have no access to a CD player and computers are even more rare. He was realistic in telling NPR that his message will have a hard time getting out of the capital Sana’a. AJ explained why he thought Al Qaeda was becoming more popular: “Most of the people in Yemen are good people. The lack of jobs, lack of money, lack of understanding about, I don't know, arts, music and all of that - people are being pushed to go to the other side.”

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - c

4 - b

5 - b

6 - c

7 - a

8 - d

9 -d

10 - b

11 - a

12 - c

 

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