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Yesterday, our school celebrated Backwards Day as part of a Spirit Week event planned by our Student Council (of which I am the advisor). Lots of kids had clothes on backwards but I struggled myself on how to demonstrate Backwards Day.
My co-teacher came to the rescue with a brilliant idea: “Let’s do palindromes today.”
Only one or two students in my four classes knew what a palindrome even was, so it was a fun lesson but also gave them some other ways to think about playful language (and comes right after our unit on Word Origins ends).
To show palindromes, we shared this Weird Al video, called Bob, which is full of palindromes in a fun way that only Weird Al can pull off, and as with most of his videos, it is also an homage to music.
In this case, the video references almost completely the famous Bob Dylan video for Subterranean Homesick Blues from the early 1960s. There were even fewer hands in the room when I asked, who knows who Bob Dylan is? So, I gave them a Dose of Bob, with this video and some discussion of his impact on music as a songwriter/poet/lyricist, and talked, too, about the Remix Culture, of riffing off the original to make something new and entertaining.
Then, they illustrated a bunch of palindromes (Taco Cat remained a fan favorite) and tried their hand at coming up with their own (a very difficult task for many). So, they got some writing, some music history, some remix concepts and had fun. All in the name of being backwards.