April is National Poetry Month in the United States, and what better way is there to teach poetry than with music that was inspired by it? Teach Rock has just the lesson for you, with tons of media to accompany it.
What is Teach Rock?
Teach Rock is a website that has standards-aligned, arts-integrated lessons for students of all levels. These are all free to access, but you will need to register for free. To get an idea of the quality of this site, take a look at the Founding Board of Directors:
You can visit the Lesson Plan Collections page if you want to filter by grade level, subject, genre, activities, or topics. Since you are registered, you can “favorite” any that appeal to you and they will be saved to a Favorites page. The same can be done with Unit Plans, or the Student Edition Slide Decks.
Trace it Back
Trace it Back is a bit different than the other activities. On this page, students are encouraged to learn about what may have influenced one of their favorite musical artists. The page contains links to contemporary artists like Chance the Rapper and more classic ones like Nina Simone. Many of these are directed toward middle and high school age students, but there are a couple that could be used with elementary such as this one on the Beatles.
Where’s the Poetry?
As I mentioned at the top music is, of course, poetic. But if you want to examine some literal poems and relate them to music and history at the same time, the lesson on “Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers’ Movement.” Designed as a civics lesson for elementary students, this plan begins by showing students different photographs and a clip from a PBS where they learn about Huerta and the UFW. Then they hear a few songs related to the movement, including one performed by Alice Bag, “A Street Called Dolores Huerta,” which was based on a poem by Nikki Darling. Students are then given a handout to read that contains the poem, “Huelga” by Diana Garcia and asked to compare the message in the poem to that of Darling’s and Bag’s. They can then write their own haikus about Huerta. (Huerta, by the way, is 93 years old at the time of this writing.)
What Else Can I Do with Teach Rock?
You can find lessons for every subject, including physical education, math, and SEL on this site. And the range of activities is anywhere from stations to performances and solving equations. We all know the significant part that music plays in the lives of our students, so Teach Rock is a wonderful resource to help you leverage that for learning.