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An English teacher in a secondary STEM school and her former English education professor collaborate on an article about their experience using music as a text to explore the concept of love in a secondary English classroom. Using the principles and practices of critical literacy and backwards design, the teachers broaden the notion of reading and writing to include non-print texts such as music to help students negotiate love and gender in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and popular music. Students used the essential question, How does love influence us? as a framework for their investigation. Once students studied love and gender in the play and in popular music, the students synthesized their new understandings into their own song lyrics. The authors found that when the students were given the chance to read and write music, “great and untapped creative potential simmering inside” was “let out and given a chance to thrive.”
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