5 Ways to Incorporate Pop Culture into Your English Language Arts Class

It can be a challenge to get a group of high school students excited about English  Language Arts, and at times, it is overwhelming to think of new ways to get the classroom engaged in a lesson. In my experience, I have found it very helpful to connect with my students by incorporating pop culture into my teaching. Students spend several hours a day on their screens, fully entertained and influenced by what is being published on social media. Pop culture plays a huge role in the social development of our students. By incorporating pop culture into your English Language Arts class, you will tap into your students' interests, bringing the outside world into the classroom.

Think back to when you were a teenager, what was your favorite class? I personally loved classes where the teacher incorporated real-life situations, current events, and other aspects of pop culture that connected well with my reality. I understand the pressure of time constraints in order to successfully prepare our students for standardized exams, but we all aim to create lessons that will linger in students' minds. The best way to accomplish this is to keep up with the latest trends and utilize that knowledge to connect our lessons to students' world. Sometimes this can be as simple and checking to see what's trending on YouTube or Snapchat.

Here's a link to an article that shares The 19 Pop Culture Moments That Defined 2018. It would be a great article to use as an introduction to a unit on Pop Culture or a mini-lesson on the topic itself.

This is a great opportunity to get your students excited about creative writing. The process of creating text for social media advertisements is a challenging and creative process. Getting your students to write up a social media campaign for their favorite brand will be a fun and educational challenge that will teach them the value of purpose, syntax, and tone of voice. Free marketing anyone?! :)

One way to get your students communicating is to motivate discussions about current events. Give your students a trending topic with the objective of researching the topic and constructing a point of view that will take less than a minute to explain. This will allow them to develop thorough and concise arguments, while participating in relevant debates. Grab a FREE copy of this current event (What's Trending Right Now?) handout, HERE!

Another great way to get our students interested in figurative language is to get them digging into their favorite songs. The modern form of poetry can be seen in the lyrics of songs today. This is a great way to encourage your students to analyze metaphors, syntax, alliterations, and jargons found in the songs that they listen to all the time. Make sure to check the links at the bottom of this page to access some relevant resources from a few of my fellow Coffee Shop bloggers! :)

Podcasts are a new medium that allows listeners to either be entertained or learn something new. There are podcasts that involve series, education, and current events, creating many ways to include podcasts in your lesson planning. For instance, ask your students to listen to a specific podcast that can be later discussed in class. Another idea is to create a podcast, record yourself giving a unit lesson, and then ask your students to listen to the lesson in the episode. Or perhaps, give your students the chance to record their own English lesson or debate via podcasts. The use of a podcast is a great way to get your students excited about English topic or book.

Here are a few podcasts worth taking a look at:
  1. https://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com/podcasts
  2. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/archive
  3. https://www.newyorker.com/podcast/fiction

If you are looking for more fun pop culture-related activities, check these out!
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