Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Beat It," "Eat It," and "West Side Story"

To teach students the concept of parody along with count and noncount nouns, students first listened to a young Michael Jackson singing and dancing to "Beat It " (1982) Then they watched Weird Al Yankovic in a video parody called "Eat It" (1984).  Students examined the lyrics (or words) to Weird Al's song, examining nouns for countability. It was difficult at times to understand the food references without knowing brand names such as Captain Crunch, Raisin Bran, and Spam.  Much more could have been done with this song in a literature or reading class, and I hope I'll have a chance to try the materials again with another high intermediate or advanced level group.

***You can also go back in movie history and watch an excerpt from "West Side Story" (1961) which the Michael Jackson dance video seems to parody.  There are other excerpts which seem relevant to "Beat It", such as the scene where Tony tries to break up the fight between two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. The scene parallels Michael Jackson's role in "Beat It," except Michael, of course, is able to get the two gangs to dance out their hostility.  

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