“Weird Al” Yankovic is back with a vengeance this week, releasing a new video every day to celebrate the release of his new (and possibly last) album, Mandatory Fun. Yesterday he debuted the Jack Black- and Kristen Schaal-featuring video for “Happy” parody “Tacky,” and this afternoon he unveiled the video...
17 July 2014
Yeah! Where have I been? Planning several new and exciting twists and turns for the Google Lit Trips project.
But, when I came across this, though the TO DO List is long, I couldn't help but want to share it with my Language Arts Lovin' friends out there.
A WARNING: MOST LANGUAGE ARTS EDUCATORS WILL FIND BIG AL YANKOVIC'S "WORD CRIMES" VIDEO TO BE PRETTY AMUSING.
BUT IT WOULD BE UNWISE TO ASSUME THAT IT IS APPROPRIATE TO SHARE WITH YOUR STUDENTS WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE CLEVER BUT EDGY ADVISE YANKOVIC PROVIDES BEGINNING AT THE 2:19 MARK.
I've never been more than sort of amused by Big Al Yankovic's parody songs. Some struck me as silly; others as well, sort of amusing.
But, I couldn't help but watch his brand new video entitled "Word Crimes." I have to admit, it's pretty interesting.
When searching for it, I came across this article that includes the video, but also does an interesting review of Yankovic's own grammar expertise.
And I must admit that I was guilty of assuming that someone had decided to play grammar cop and spend his or her words ridiculing the crimes being indicted in the song.
I've always wondered exactly what the joy is for educators who for reasons I never understood, feel that the best way to help kids who struggle with grammar or who haven't yet discovered a real reason to care about grammar rules, is to elevate their noses, whip out their red pens and rubricate all over the kid's effort.
WHAT? "Rubricate" a verb?
Note this quote from English Ecclesiatical History, "...for he burneth them, he hangeth them, he drowneth them, imprisioneth and famisheth them, and so maketh truer martyrs of Christ, than any other of his new shrined saints whom he has so dignified in his calendar; for the one he doth rubricate only with his red letters, the other doth he rubricate with their own blood."
The word's origins are in a reference to "Christ's" spilled blood; originally referencing a sacredness to biblical text using red letters.
So, "rubricating with blood" somehow eventually became marking up a kid's essay by spilling red ink all over it.
But I digress. I've long wondered whether excessive rubrication, blood red or other hued, is the most effective way of encouraging students to care about learning what we understand to be important communication skills.
Not that mechanics, usage, and grammar (MUG) are not important. They most certainly are. That's why publishers hire editors.
The question is NOT whether mechanics, usage, and grammar are important. The question is what are the most successful practices for encouraging kids to care about their communication skills?
Ironically, we all know that it is not easy to engage kids in caring about mechanics, usage and grammar; at least not without the carrot (or is it a whip?) of THE TEST.
I'm just wondering if Big Al Yankovic's alternative attempt at attempting to blend a bit of clever entertainment might be worth considering.
Now, I've gotta get back to those exciting new twists and turns for Google Lit Trips!
brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit aka Google Lit Trips.