Saturday, July 28, 2007

The beats keep comin

It all starts with a little bump and a tap. Then a rap and a few more taps. Before I know it, my whole class has got the fever and once again, I have to calm it all out and get everybody back into English mode. My kids love it and it has taken the elementary schools and the middle schools here by storm. There is not a kid here who cannot knock their pencil to a simple beat or doesn’t have a friend who can’t.

I first noticed it when it started with a little bit of tapping and beating by one of my students on his desk a couple months ago. This student seemed just a little too excited and enthralled in clicking and clocking his pencil but I dismissed it as the normal mind wandering that most students go through now and then. But it continued day after day and then other students started to join in. By now, many students were all beating there pencils on the desk. I am not sure how many times I had to say, “Stop! Stop beating your pencils on the desk¨ before I finally realized what was going on. It was “pen beat” as they call and I know it well by now. They love it. I hear it all day now. Rip, tip, tip, tap, and rip.

Pen beat is when kids try to rap their pencils on the desk to make a nice beat. Everyone knows or knew that person, that kid in school that loved to beat his pencil on the desk. But hip-hop is king today for the young culture not the rock music of my adolescents (although not to make myself sound old, I would like to note that I even listened to rap in elementary). Anyway, hip-hop = beats, even pen beats. You tube is also rampant and that means people can easily videotape their beats and put them on the net. A new age is born. Kids love to compete and a latest competition is who has the best pen beat and it has all been digitized and uploaded for the world to see.

After all, it is not that complicated, right? I mean after all, even a kid can beat a pencil on the desk. I have even got into it a little bit myself. But the key is that kids are putting the videos on the net and are thereby becoming “pen beat artists” that inspire other kids to do the same. Next thing you know, all the kids in my class are beating their pencils to different beats with aspirations of being like that one guy they saw on youtube and yes, it does sound bad. A few are good, but most are bad but this is what being a teacher is all about anyway so I like it. So now, here are some videos so you can see what I am talking about. The first one is a kid in Korea who would be good pen beater as far as my students would go but I have some that are better. And lastly, there is a beat of somebody who is clearly better than my students.

Have fun and keep the beats a tappin,


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