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Slow Jam the Poem: A Jimmy Fallon Inspired Lesson

“Slow Jam the Poem: A Jimmy Fallon Inspired Lesson” (originally published here on GettingSmart on 3.20.2015)

Jimmy Fallon is just too talented. In fact, I believe he could do just about anything sometimes. Now, I don’t want to step out on a limb here, but I bet he could even be a high school educator. Think about it. With awesome ideas like “Thank You Notes,” “Hashtags,” “Wheel of Impressions,” “Catchphrase,” “Box of Lies,” and “Evolution of Hip Hop,” Jimmy Fallon and his team at The Tonight Show could surely energize and challenge a class of fun-seeking and knowledge-hungry students. But of all the aforementioned skits, there is one that has already been proven to be a hit in a Language Arts classroom. “Slow Jam the News.” So, before we dive in and take a look at the awesomeness created this week by Studio 113, an innovative American Literature class at East Hall High School, let’s watch the inspiration for the first-ever “Slow Jam the Poem” presentations.

“Slow Jam the News” with President Obama, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots

The Lesson Plan

Teams of three-to-five students were assigned either a Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson poem to analyze with the help of this TP-FASTT guide. After dissecting their assigned poems, students were shown the above version of “Slow Jam the News,” and they were instructed to use these guidelines to construct cue cards that would help them present an authentic interpretation of their poems in “Slow Jam the Poem” style. Of course, like always in Studio 113, students were encouraged to put their own unique touches on the final project. For a thorough “Slow Jam the Poem” how-to-guide, please view the video at the bottom of this blog post. Let’s take a look at some “Slow Jam the Poem” presentations from Studio 113.

An Acoustic Guitar and Authentic Song

A Military Version

A Poetic Version

A Blues Version

A Green Screen Version

A Country Version

Care to see some more? Feel free to choose from the following versions or just visit our YouTube channel: a 3-song mix, a rapping version, and an artistic version. A “Slow Jam the Poem” How-to-Guide
If you are interested in the work involved in “putting the class back together,” click here to watch a time-lapsed video that proves that teaching can be physically stressful. And that…is how…you rock out the class. Thanks, Jimmy Fallon. For more blogs by John, check out:


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