Serendipitous Student Connection #3 (Poison/ Needle/ Mick Jagger Knitting)
My students have been on a roll lately-- I've been teaching for nearly twenty years, and I thought I had heard it all-- but apparently I haven't. . . for example, I was doing a lesson on metaphors and cliches in my Creative Writing class the other day, and I always begin the lesson by asking the students to crumple some of their old assignments into paper balls and then I play Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and I instruct them to pelt me with paper every time they hear a cliche (and there are at least twenty . . . count them!) and they thoroughly enjoy whipping paper at me, and from a pedagogical standpoint, they are learning to respond with disgust to poor writing . . . oddly, I never get beaned all that much, because the nerdy kids sit up front, and they can rarely throw well, and the kids who can actually throw always sit in the back of the room, and it's hard to propel a paper ball that far; after this madness, I then play a well written song with a flower metaphor, the song that is the exact opposite of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," because it uses one metaphor to develop the tone, and specific details to evoke the metaphor . . . the song is The Rolling Stones "Dead Flowers," of course, and as I play it I ask comprehension questions, such as: "So what's the problem with this relationship?" and the kids figure out that the narrator and his "ragged company" don't really fit into the circle of society to which his girlfriend belongs-- her world of "silk upholstered chairs" and "Kentucky Derby days"-- and when I ask what it means to seek solace in a "basement room/ with a needle and a spoon/ and another girl to take my pain away," the kids usually know that the needle and the spoon are drug paraphernalia . . . but last week when I asked about this, a very sweet girl said in her kind and innocent voice, "Is he doing some sewing to forget about her?" and I got this great image of Mick Jagger knitting away with his grandmother in order to get over his unrequited love.