Would You Rather Poetry or Rap?

Would you rather be a poet or a rapper??

To some of us...there's little difference. How many times have you heard a lyric in a song so poignant and poetic that it rivets your soul? Like some of you, I can listen to a song and travel back in time.

So...being a kid of the 80s/90s and loving all genres of music (like I love all genres of books), I thought I'd collaborate and combine my two great loves: poetry and music...specifically rap music! I came across the idea a couple of years ago via Book Riot's post: Poetry Line or Rap Music.

We begin the lesson with a few foundation questions via a Gallery Walk!

With 8 poster size sticky notes and the following questions, we were able to build a foundation for the poetry vs. rap:

1. What are some characteristics of poems?
2. How do you encounter poetry in your everyday life?
3. What is poetry to you?
4. What makes a good poem?
5. What makes poetry easy? Difficult?
6. If poetry was a food, then which food and why?
7. What can poetry teach you?
8. Would you trust a poet? Why/why not?

***Here's the bonus, each poet/poem/poetry can be replaced with a rap/rapper/rapping!

After the Gallery Walk, we discuss and move into the core lesson, analyzing a rapper's book of poetry!Presenting TuPac Shakur's The Rose That Grew From Concrete!

So using a template, we review some pre-selected poems (some of them aren't appropriate for children under 10). My favorite poem from this collection is "Liberty Needs Glasses:"

Here's my modeled poem review:

To conclude the lesson, we either play the aforementioned Book Riot: Poetry vs. Rap as a game (split the class in teams and award points for each correct guess) or we conclude with an ACROSTIC poem.

If you like my library advocacy w/a hip-hop twist, then please check out what I did with 2016 Texas Bluebonnet Book Winner, When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip-hop! Also, check out this book-talk on The Rose That Grew From Concrete:

As an extra bonus, there's a book out called The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It's the perfect culmination of me, this blog post and the current strife in America:

I just had to include this tweet about Tupac Shakur...he's been dead 10 years, yet HE STILL LIVES! Lol!


  1. This is all kinds of AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!! You Rock!

    1. Thank you Amy! I'm glad you like it! I can't wait until the class I'm collaborating this lesson with takes it to a whole new level! Lol! Stay tuned! :)


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