“I knew that I had found a literary treasure that could be brought into my teaching as a rich resource for my American literature classes, and probably any ELA classroom.” English teacher Mrs. Kate Collins’ discovered treasure was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical. In this theatrical and musical masterpiece, Mrs. Collins recognized something more: a lesson unit that would energize the teaching of poetry and ignite conversations about diversity, history, race, and silences.
Excited by the possibilities, Mrs. Collins set to work to design the Hamilton Listening Project unit. She set goals that would introduce her students to the musical as a work of literature set in the Age of Reason, would encourage them to examine the lyrics and story for evidence of ideals in that time, and invite them to recognize the creative use and power of rhetorical and poetic devices.
What emerged from Mrs. Collins' innovative idea was not only a spectacularly well-designed unit that can be used in English classrooms around the country but publication by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). English Journal is NCTE’s award-winning journal of ideas for English language arts teachers in junior and senior high schools and middle schools. It presents information on the teaching of writing and reading, literature, and language, and includes information on how teachers are applying practices, research, and multimodal literacies in their classrooms.
We invite members of our STA community to read Mrs. Collins’ article and enjoy not only pride in learning how ingenious she is to incorporate Hamilton into her American Literature course but also in knowing that our STA students are exposed to exceptional education like this every single day.
Mrs. Collins’ article, “Discovering Hip-Hop: A Case for Bringing Hamilton into Students’ Lives,” is published in the English Journal, Vol. 110, No. 4, March 2021. Her article begins on page 26.
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