Seeing Past the Mirage: Theme Development and Word Meaning in Black Star’s “Thieves in the Night”

This lesson asks students to identify the central theme of a song called “Thieves in the Night” and analyze how the theme is developed over the course of the song. The lesson also prompts students to determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the song.

This lesson works toward fulfilling the following 8th Grade reading standards for literature, which are outlined in the Common Core State Standards:

8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

Fighting Fast Food With Algebra

In this lesson, students create and solve inequality expressions using calories burned during certain exercise routines as compared to fast food.

A Song of an Era: Using Songwriting to Chronicle a Time in History

In this lesson students will research a particular era in history and write a song or rap that reflects that social issues and historical events of that time. Everyday we hear some form of music, whether on the radio, television, on our iPod, and other sources. While there are songs that are meaningless, there are songs that have been written through the years that are filled with meaning that are meant to empower us to take action in some way. Songs that have depth to them, have caused us to begin talking and thinking about the current issues within our society.

Poetic Justice: Using Kendrick Lamar’s Hit Song to Understand Literary Devices

In this lesson, students use the lyrics and video for Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice” to understand and analyze how this song and video define and depict the literary device of the same name. Once the students understand the concept they will apply it to a piece of literature of their choice, identifying examples of poetic justice in a 1-2 page paper and explaining how it might inspire an audience.

Literary Elements and Character Development in WWE

In this lesson, students learn about literary elements and character development by examining how they are present in and crucial to the success of WWE.

WWE relies heavily on character development, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Without these literary elements, fans would not be as invested in the action taking place in “the squared circle” because there would not be as much drama associated with the competition. With these literary elements, however, fans become involved in multiple conflicts, pick their favorite characters, choose sides in rivalries, and watch as feuds unfold over weeks, months, and even years.

This lesson should be approached carefully as many students may believe that the action of WWE is unscripted. The lesson can still be implemented, however, without making students aware of the degree to which the drama of WWE is scripted.

Portal Geometry: Volume

Students develop an understanding of the geometric concept of volume and how it relates to area and surface area using the game Portal 2.

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Hero on a Budget: Learn Money Management from the World of Warcraft



Even in the fantasy world, there are no shortcuts to success, everyone in the WoW starts off at the bottom and works their way up.

What better way to practice going broke, or testing out financial decisions than through the virtual world of Draenor?  World of Warcraft is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Blizzard Entertainment.  It is an online game where millions of players from around the world assume the roles of heroic fantasy characters and explore a world full of magic and mystery. You start out as a newcomer, and must learn and practice your skills to survive.  Earning and spending money is a key aspect of the success of your character. At the beginning, you are given a small satchel to carry your belongings as well as some basic gear.  You earn everything you need from this point onward.  You explore and collect items, earning money and objects through quests.  You first earn copper pieces, then silver, then gold.  Much like the real world, you have to prove your abilities with less lucrative jobs, before you can advance to better ones. Even in the fantasy world, there are no shortcuts to success, everyone in the WoW starts off at the bottom and works their way up.  There’s no silver spoon handed to you from the start.




WoW can actually be a pretty useful tool in learning personal financial literacy or the ability to manage and understand your financial conditions.  This includes the ability to make financial choices, talk about money and financial issues with others, plan for the future, and respond competently to life events that affect everyday financial decisions, including events in the general economy.  Luckily in the WoW there are no economic reasons to ever worry about anything but yourself.  So it puts your financial planning in a bit of a bubble, but thats ok for practice purposes. Here are some tips on how to manage your wealth as an Elf…




1. Pawning for Power: In the game you must manage your budget.  The games’ creators have carefully balanced objects’ values based on your location and your likelihood of affording certain items you might need – like a better set of armor or better weapons.  Through quests, and selling back items you find (like pawning in the real world) you can build up a small amount to be able to buy things for yourself.

2. Auction House Hustle: When you have amassed a large quantity of items, either through farming, looting, or crafting, you can sell these items in bulk, directly to other players through the auction house. Real players may need something very specific that they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.  Much like the real world, supply and demand dictate the prices in the auction house.  You can compare the current going rate for certain items, and then undercut your selling price to try and win some sales first.  This is the best way to earn a LOT of money all at once.

3. Stash your Cash: Your coin purse is similar to a basic checking account.  You see your balance after making a purchase.  There are bank vaults where you can store more items or money that you won’t be able to spend immediately without retrieving – like a savings account.  This is a smart solution to curb the desire to spend all of your money in one place or to squander your money without planning for the future – like buying that super expensive flying mount.

Luckily, WoW is still a fantasy realm and you don’t have to face the greatest monster of them all, DEBT. But there are still valuable money management lessons you can learn along your quest to rule the kingdom.