What is Crambo?
Flocab has prattled on how to rap battle. But let’s take it back a few hundred years, and kick it very old school.
In the scheme of world history, rap battles may be relatively new. But people have been trying to outwit each other through rhyme for ages. Over 600 years before the beginning of hip-hop, they called it Crambo.
Called rap’s “distant cousin,” and coming from a phrase meaning “re-stewed cabbage,” Crambo was a rhyming game played possibly as early as the 1300s. It became popular in England in the 1700s. The goal of the game was similar to a rap battle–use your wittiest words to mock your opponent and make the audience laugh. But instead of rapping to a beat, you had to copy the rhyme pattern of the previous person, and whoever couldn’t come up with a rhyme would lose. Often the rhymes had to pertain to–and often mock–a specific person or subject.
Use Crambo to Teach Rhyme Scheme:
Crambo is the perfect activity for teaching rhyme scheme. And at the same time, you can use Crambo to review historical subjects, literature, or math.
1. Tell your students a little bit about Crambo. Learn more here.
2. Pick a subject and write a Crambo rhyme. Write it on the board. An example for a unit on Christopher Columbus:
There’s a new guy among us
His name’s Christopher Columbus
He brought diseases from Spain,
And now we all feel the pain.
3. Have your students to label the rhyme scheme. In this case, its AABB. (But it could be whatever you choose)
4. Ask your students to write their own rhymes about Christopher Columbus using the AABB rhyme scheme. For extra challenge, their words should rhyme with yours. So they might respond:
Did Christopher Columbus
Arrive on a bus?
No, he took all his trips
On a group of three ships!
5. Have your students share rhymes with the class. Let the best quip win!
6. You can have your students pick the subject and set the rhyme scheme for new units!
Share some of your starter rhymes in the comments!