Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SOLC #3 Cool Kids

The Slice of Life March Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  

The other day I got into my son's Blazer and of course his radio was not on the station I listen to, and the volume was much louder than what I prefer.  I turned it down a bit, but continued listening to the song.  The song kept repeating the same line over and over.  
"I wish that I could be like the cool kids,
Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in."

I stopped and thought, "Did they just say what I think they said?"

Being a middle school teacher, I just shook my head.  Everyday I see kids who want to be like the cool kids, and yes, who want to fit in.  It is a constant struggle for many kids this age.  Fitting in is so difficult when you are still trying to understand who you really are and who you want to be.

But what makes a kid cool?  Is it being an athlete, being smart, wearing the brand name clothes, being rich, or being popular?  Who defines what is cool and what isn't?

A few days later, I decided to Google this song, hoping that the lyrics were actually something inspiring.  I found an article written on Radio.com about the four siblings who make up the group Echosmith and who sing this song.  Here is what they said:

Jamie says the message of the song is simple: the coolest thing you can be is yourself. But more often than not, fans tell the band that they relate to the kids they’re singing about. That they feel like the outsider looking in.
“This cry to be like the cool kids… it’s something that everyone kind of goes through whether you want to act like it or not,” Jamie said. “There’s always somebody out there that you kind of wish, ‘If only I could do this, or do that.’ I think that’s why it connects with people so well.”

I would agree that everyone at some time in their life wishes they could be like someone else.  I don't have a problem with that, because I do the same thing as an adult.  I read slices and want to be like that writer or want to teach like some of the teachers I see on Twitter or on blogs.  
I do have a problem with "the cool kid" part.  They say the message of the song is simple - the coolest thing is to be yourself.  That is a great message.  I may be wrong, but I don't clearly hear that message because it gets lost in the repeated refrain.  (Trust me ~ listen to it once and you will be singing the refrain.)  The message I hear is the coolest thing is to be like someone else so you can fit in.
And to me, that is sending the wrong the message.  


  1. This song is an earworm, to be sure! I think it's more of a plaintive cry than a "it's cool to be you", too. I think this would make the start of a great discussion in a middle school classroom, and lead to some great writing, as well.

  2. I agree this would be a great discussion. Would be interesting to pair with another piece of text. Wonder comes mind. Great post!

  3. I'll have to ask my students if they know the song, Leigh Anne. I see it too in my middle schoolers, who have a tough time being the wonderful people they are, and just keep trying to be a cool kid. It's a poignant age, & it sounds as if your opinion is so right.

  4. That would indeed be a great discussion in class! I know the song - it's catchy. I always thought of it as outsiders wishing they could fit in .. wanting what others have.

  5. I have to agree that the message they seem to want people to get out of the song gets lost in the chorus. Even now, as an adult, I still know this feeling of seeing people who are so cool, who just get it, and I so want to be like that. Thank you for sharing this song and your thoughts on it!

  6. The funny thing is that most of my kids say that they never really listen to the lyrics - just the music. I suppose that in itself is a blessing these days. :)

  7. Hmmm ... perhaps a mini-lesson in close reading and research of the song! Music is a great avenue and what awesome conversations you would have with your students! And then sending the right message: Being YOU is the coolest thing. Our kids need to hear this message over and over again, especially in the middle school grades. Those are tough days.

    Great slice!

  8. I love to reflect on song lyrics and always wondered about this song in particular. Thanks for sharing your research. What a great topic to bring to your classroom. Some of my favorite lessons are close resding song lyrics. Powerful.

  9. I agree with Michelle. This would be a great close reading! I teach at a K-8 school and watch the middle school kids do this "dance" every day. It makes me so sad!

  10. Thank you for telling us about this song.