Rihanna's "Four Five Seconds" Lesson Plans

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Rihanna’s hit song (featuring Kanye West and Paul McCartney) provides a wonderful opportunity to expose students to an instance of popular culture using form to enhance meaning… but that’s just the icing on the cake.  “Four Five Seconds” lends itself nicely to rhetorical analysis (check out our analysis below!!) and, in turn, to teaching all of the lovely little devices packed into this song.

Our corresponding lesson plans use “Four Five Seconds” as a core text to teach inferencing, close reading, and — the big kahuna — rhetorical analysis through compare & contrast.  These plans integrate poetic works such as Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” and John Hollander’s “Swan and Shadow” — A rigorous and engaging addition to any poetry unit!

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Lesson Description


Lesson Features

Lesson Focus Inference; close reading, rhetorical analysis; compare and contrast (with poetry)
Grades Secondary (flexible: 9 through 12)


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