Writing Rhymes for Test Prep: A Spotlight on ESL Teacher Leah Simpson

When working with an ESL population, one of teacher Leah Simpson’s goals is to help students prepare for the WIDA test, an English language proficiency exam used by a number of states across the country, including her home state of Tennessee. The Warren County High School Teacher, based in McMinnville, TN, uses our Word Up Blue and The Week in Rap to help students practice Tier 2 vocabulary and bring nonfiction text into her classroom.

As part of their test preparation, students also need practice with academic vocabulary across subjects. How did Leah decide to boost subject-specific vocab with her class this year? With rhyme-writing, of course! Each of Leah’s five class periods picked a subject—math, science, social students, ELA or social/instructional language—and worked over the course of a month to compose a rap as a group. Students performed their raps for their families at Warren County High School’s ESL Family Night this fall to much celebration. Here’s what Leah told us about the experience:

Leah Simpson Post Image final

Read on!
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