ROCK THE CLASSROOM!

in music •  10 days ago

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A National Curriculum I wrote for teachers who want to teach Songwriting, and kids who want to learn how! By Geoff Byrd and Dan Larson. Feel free to use this curriculum in your class. If you're a songwriter who wants to learn more, check this out as well. If you're a parent with budding musicians, use this to teach them that cover songs are only scratching the surface. Originals are where it's at! This curriculum is synched to the California educational standards but is pretty universal these days with most states. You have my permission to use this curriculum in your class, at home and share however you'd like. Please just include Geoff Byrd & Dan Larson writers credit and a link that goes to: http://geoffbyrd.com/

BIO: http://geoffbyrd.com/bio/

DONATE: http://geoffbyrd.com/donate/

WEBSITE: http://geoffbyrd.com/

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LESSON 1: COLLABORATION NATION

CORE STANDARD: (SPEAKING AND LISTENING #1)

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
LEARNING TARGETS:
Listen to the ideas shared by other students, incorporate those ideas, and clearly express them to the class.

Identify the verses and chorus of a song.

MATERIALS:

-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Provide journals or have students bring them next time
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers
-Copies of syllabus
-If possible, small flash drive keychain (portable songbook)

AGENDA:

  1. Introduction

Introduce yourself (teacher)

Getting to know you activity (25 minutes)

Have the kids break up into groups of 2 and find a partner quickly. Then each student will tell their partner 4 facts about themselves. Each student must remember the 4 facts about their partner and present their partners facts to the class. Note: students will introduce the facts about their partners, not themselves. This will help students feel comfortable about presenting songs in the future and create an atmosphere of acceptance and a culture of collaboration.

For example:

Name:
City of birth:
Favorite style of music:
Favorite song or artist:

Give class overview and go over required materials. (10 min)

  1. Song (20 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important. This process will be repeated throughout the course every time you present and discuss a song.

  1. Class brainstorm (15 min)

Generate ideas for the title of a class song. Discuss and come to a class consensus on the title for the song. Have each student write on a piece of paper or their journals (if provided) for five minutes. They will be making a list of cool words and/or phrases. A good way to get them started is to say, “If you could start a band, what would some good band names be? List a few.” Also, “What are your favorite words? List a few. What word or words would make a great title of a song? List a few.” The goal is for each student to have a list of words and phrases they like. Then, go around the room and have them say their lists. Pick one you like from each student and write it on the board. Then pick your favorite four. Then have the students vote quickly for their favorites with a show of hands. Narrow these down to one. That is your title.

NOTE: Have students keep an ongoing list of cool words and phrases in their journals throughout the course. This is a big part of free writing, song literacy and creativity. It helps the students to get into songwriting mode. It is a surprisingly powerful tool.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Take note of the accomplishments of the class on the song.
Be positive and affirming whenever students have ideas and participate.
Remind students about materials for next class.
Have students bring journals.
Have students identify their favorite song.
Let them know lyrics must be school appropriate.
Have them print out or write the lyrics down and bring to next class.

SONG LYRICS:

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE

I like you more than I thought I would
I’m thinking about you more than I should
You caught me by surprise
I want to give into the feeling
Open up the heart you’ve been stealing
Boy can it be real this time

Should I break away
Or turn around and stay
Either way I love you
But I’m caught in the middle
Time and time again
I wind up hurt in the end
Will this one be different
I’m caught in the middle

Will I walk into a heart-break
Will you become my latest mistake
Boy I don’t know what to do
Is this the same old story
About a guy that just wants the glory
I need you to feel me too….so….

CHORUS

Kaitlin Kavanagh (age 17) and Geoff Byrd

NOTE: It is a good idea to get the students used to typing songs with verses in normal font, chorus in bold, and bridge in italics.

LESSON 2: WRITE THE CHORUS, REHEARSE THE VERSE

CORE STANDARD: (WRITING #4)

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
LEARNING TARGETS:

Identify the verse and chorus of a song.

Collaborate with the class to write and edit a complete song with two verses and a chorus.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

The icebreaker is intended as a warm up activity to get students to pay attention and get ready for the lesson of the day. Today’s icebreaker is called “Echo.” Whatever the teacher sings; the students echo it back. So it is essentially a call and response activity. This can be a well-known song or an original. It can also be a scat or random melody you make up and have them echo. In that case, start simple and become more complex as you go along.

  1. Share favorite songs students brought to class and have them identify and discuss verse and chorus. (10 min)

  2. Song (15 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Bridge: Part of the song that bridges two other pieces together. Often times, it is simply a departure from the rest of the song to keep things interesting. It is often referred to as the middle 8 or the glue. It can be the climax of the song as well.
Write from the title: this technique involves choosing the title first and then writing the lyrics next. The title is the concept that all the lyrics will support and direct (a strong, unique title usually indicates a “write from the title” process).

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Journals (10 min)

Have each student individually write a verse and a chorus to fit the class song title.

  1. Class activity (25 min)

Discuss and share some examples of their individual writing. Start to tie words together and piece together a verse and chorus for the class song. You can also chime in and re-word things. Be the glue that synthesizes their words toward a common goal. You as the teacher have the final say. While you try and use as much of your students’ lyrics as possible, don’t be afraid to contribute, lead and direct. 30 minutes is not that long and if quick decisions are not made, it can be chaotic. On the other hand, it can be fun, energetic and electric going around the room and finding common ground while watching the pieces of the puzzle come together. Start with the chorus first. Often time the name of the title ends up being the “top line” of the chorus. That is a good and trusted way to do it although you can feel free to be creative and lead the process however you would like. So you started with the title and the group participated. Then you created the chorus together, which is the repeating heart and soul of the song. Then together you write the verses, which all relate to and lead up to the chorus.
Now your song is done! Feel free to come up with a melody and teach the kids how to sing it with you.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Teacher praises the class and sings or performs a part of the song with kids.
Set the tone with good feedback and create a classroom culture that does not allow critical responses to other students. Instead, create a culture that encourages and rewards openness, encouragement, and creativity.

SONG LYRICS:

UMBRELLA

(Intro rap)
No clouds in my stones
Let it rain I hydroplane in the bank
Coming down with the Dow Jones
When the clouds come we gone, we Rocafella
We fly higher than weather
In G5's are better you know me
In anticipation for precipitation
Stack chips for the rainy day
Jay Rain Man is back with little Ms. Sunshine
Rihanna where you at?

You have my heart and we'll never be worlds apart
May be in magazines but you'll still be my star
Baby cause in the dark you can't see shiny cars
And that's when you need me there
With you I'll always share because

When the sun shines, we'll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'm a stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh eh eh eh)

These fancy things will never come in between
You're part of my entity here for Infinity
When the war has took its part
When the world has dealt its cards
If the hand is hard together we'll mend your heart because

CHORUS

You can run into my arms
It's OK don't be alarmed
Come here to me
There's no distance in between our love
So go on and let the rain pour
I'll be all you need and more because

CHORUS

It's raining ooh baby it's raining
Baby come here to me come here to me
It's raining oh baby it's raining

Rihanna, Jay Z

LESSON 3: WRITE FROM THE TITLE

CORE STANDARD: (WRITING #10)

Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
LEARNING TARGETS:

Use free-writing techniques to develop a collection of cool words and phrases.

Write two verses and a chorus for a song.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Beats.” It is just like “Echo” but with rhythm. You can use vocal beat box, stomp-clap, or drum on the desk. You can even drum on your body. It’s even more fun when you use all of these randomly. Again, starting simple and getting progressively more complex.

  1. Song (20 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Bridge: Part of the song that bridges two other pieces together. Often times, it is simply a departure from the rest of the song to keep things interesting. It is often referred to as the middle 8 or the glue. It can be the climax of the song as well.
Write from the title: this technique involves choosing the title first and then writing the lyrics next. The title is the concept that all the lyrics will support and direct (a strong, unique title usually indicates a “write from the title” process).

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Activity (20 min)

Today’s activity is called: “Band on the Run”

Have students break up in groups and they will form a fictitious band. The goal of this band will be to come up with the three things all artists have to create:

-Name of the band
-Title of a hit song
-Title of their debut record

Individually, students will come up with five examples of each of the above in their journals. As a band, they will share ideas and select their favorites. They will come up with one band name, one hit song and one record title. Then each band will name a front man to present their titles to the class.

  1. Debrief and prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Let the students know that any of their brainstorming could be a great song title. Each individual came up with five examples of band name, song title and record title, so they now have a starting point for creating their own song title, which is the true purpose of the activity.

  1. Journals (20 min)

Now, each student will select a song title from their journal lists and then begin writing their song from the title. Students will write a song with 2 verses and a chorus.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Share student examples and prepare students for the next lesson where they will be presenting or performing their finished songs.

SONG LYRICS:

SWEET TOOTH

I’m in my room thinking over
How I’ll change when I’m older
But for now I’m told to show respect
Tomorrow is the first day of school
My parents tell me use the golden rule
But I want the mirror to reflect

I got a sweet tooth
I’m just a girl with a sweet tooth
Watch out world I got a sweet tooth
I’m gonna get what I want
I’m a little debutante

Don’t get me wrong I’m not shallow
I like the finer things in life though
I’m a girl that rocks high fashion
I think I found the right outfit
A first impression that’s important
I live life with a little passion

CHORUS

I know what I want is that a crime baby
I’ll stand in front of the line baby

CHORUS

Paula Webb (age 10) and Geoff Byrd

LESSON 4: STEP TO THE MIC

CORE STANDARD: (WRITING #4)

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.
LEARNING TARGET:

Revise and edit song so that verses and chorus illustrate and match the title.

Speak loudly, clearly, and enthusiastically to the class while presenting a finished song.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is called “Song-man.” It’s just like the classic game of hangman but using song titles or artist names. Try to pick current and well- known titles and artists so the students will be able to identify them.

  1. Song (15 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Write from the title: this technique involves choosing the title first and then writing the lyrics next. The title is the concept that all the lyrics will support and direct (a strong, unique title usually indicates a “write from the title” process).

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Field any questions and discuss problems or successes.

  1. Journals (15 min)

Have students finish editing and revising song and prepare to present or perform their song.

  1. Presentation (30 min)

Have the students present or perform their song. Melody, singing or instrument gets 10 points extra credit and praise as well. Remember that there should be no criticism of students works only positive affirmation and tips to help the students grow to maximize their potential as songwriters. Make sure the culture of the classroom is conducive to open sharing, honest emotions and positive reinforcement.

Note: students who are shy and absolutely resist presenting can be paired with an outgoing student or put together with a small group to perform. This is up to the teacher’s discretion. It is good to leave this as a last option because the shy kids are often the ones who need a breakthrough the most. As long as it’s confidence building and self-esteem building, it is a good thing. The minute it feels like it is going the other way, the teacher can go to an alternate plan as mentioned throughout this course.

  1. Closure (5 min)

SONG LYRICS:

(Intro)
Help I need somebody
Help not just anybody
Help you know I need someone help

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
But now these days are gone I'm not so self-assured
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please please help me

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I've never done before

CHORUS

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
But now these days are gone I'm not so self-assured
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors

CHORUS

Lennon McCartney (Beatles)

LESSON 5: BUILDING CHARACTER

CORE STANDARD: (WRITING #3)

Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
LEARNING TARGET:

Create a character with a unique personality and describe him/her through the verses and chorus of a song.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is called “Class Song.” You wrote a song with the class on lessons 1 and 2. Before this class, write a melody to the lyrics you and the class created. Then sing the melody to the class during this icebreaker period. Teach it to them and have them learn it. Then have them sing it with you.

  1. Song (20 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Write from the character: this technique involves developing a character and writing a song around that character.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Activity (20 min)

Today’s activity is called “Props.” Type a page that has all of your students’ names listed. Leave a space or two between each name. Then hand out a copy to every student. Then have them write something they like about every student. It is required that they don’t skip any name. No matter who likes whom, all responses must be positive. Now ask everyone to look at his or her lists and look at the first name of the list. Go around the room and have every student say what they wrote for that name. Continue until every student in class has heard all the positive comments. You will be amazed at how this changes the culture of the classroom and makes song presentations more fun, open and less stressful for the students.

  1. Debrief and prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Have them write a song that develops a character. Writing a few examples on the board of what details to keep in mind will help. Here are some examples questions to pose:

What ethnicity is your character?
What does your character look like?
What style of clothes does your character wear?
What job does your character have?
Does your character have an inner conflict? Why?
Where does your character live?
What kind of personality does your character have?
What is unique about your character?

  1. Journals (20 min)

Students will write character song.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Share some examples of student work; discuss and praise students.

SONG LYRICS:

JOHNNY B GOODE

Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans
Way back up in the woods among the evergreens
There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play the guitar just like a ringing a bell

Go go
Go Johnny go
Go
Go Johnny go
Go
Go Johnny go
Go
Go Johnny go
Go
Johnny B. Goode

He used to carry his guitar in a gunnysack
Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track
Oh, the engineers would see him sitting in the shade
Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made
People passing by they would stop and say
Oh my that little country boy could play

CHORUS

His mother told him "Someday you will be a man,
And you will be the leader of a big old band.
Many people coming from miles around
To hear you play your music when the sun go down
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
Saying Johnny B. Goode tonight."

CHORUS

CHUCK BERRY

LESSON 6: CHARACTERIZE

CORE STANDARD: (READING #6)

Describe how a narrator or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.
LEARNING TARGETS:

Revise and edit song so that the unique point of view of the character is clear.

Speak loudly, clearly, and enthusiastically during presentation.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Echo” (see lesson 2)

  1. Song (15 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Write from the character: this technique involves developing a character and writing a song around that character. In today’s song, Kaitlin’s character is also the speaker of the song. So not only can you create a character, you can be the character.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Discuss some examples of characters and student work; address problems and successes.

  1. Journals (15 min)

Have students’ finish, revise and edit their character songs.

Note: it is always good to go around the room while students are writing to help them with problem areas and give individual attention where needed. Sometimes one small hang up can mean the difference between an unfinished song and a completed one.

  1. Presentation (30 min)

Have students present or perform their character songs.

Note: It is a good idea to choose an assignment or two in which the teacher completes the assignment alongside the students. In other words, the teacher will write a song or two and present as well. This is a very effective morale builder. Students love to see their teachers participate and have fun as well. It also gives an opportunity for the teacher to play original music for the class and model performance.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Discuss examples of student work and praise students.

Note: I can be a good idea to have a simple, small prize of some kind that rewards the student for effort and excellence. It can be a sticker or a custom notebook or lyric book. Whatever the teacher thinks is appropriate is fine. This is not required just a suggestion. When that students gets rewarded, make sure the other students know that it’s not due to the song being superior, only that the student selected is being rewarded for effort and maximizing their potential.

SONG LYRICS:

ANTICIPATING

I’ll give you something to remember
Walking down the hall together
I’ve got a note in my pocket
I want your picture right here in my locket

Since you’ve been here
The sun appeared
I want to hold you near
I want you to make a move on me
Don’t keep me anticipating
Cause I think about you every day
And it goes on and on and on again

I’ve been waiting to tell you (tell me what you wanna say)
How much I daydream about you (baby don’t run away)
I’m tired of keeping it a secret (a secret what’s your secret)
So read my note and tell me if you like it (I like it I like it)

CHORUS
CHORUS

Kaitlin Kavanagh (age 17) and Geoff Byrd

LESSON 7: TELL ME A STORY

CORE STANDARD: (READING LITERATURE #5, 6)
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
LEARNING TARGET:

Collaborate with a partner to write a song with at least two verses and a chorus.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers
-Poster Board and crayons

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Beats” (see lesson 3)

  1. Song (20 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Write from the story: this technique involves developing a story and writing a song around that story. The story must include conflict and resolution.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Activity (20 min)

Today’s activity is called “Movie Pitch”

Break up into groups and have the students create the same number of characters as group members. Also students will create a simple plotline for a movie that these characters will exist in. Groups will draw a storyboard that sketches out their original movie plot and have a brief write up in their journals describing the characters in their movie. If you have time, it can be fun for each group member to present the character they are assigned to in their group. You can even have them do it “in character.” You might not have time for this, but if you are ahead of schedule or the students find it fun, it may just be worth it. The story may be simple, but include some conflict and resolution in the plot. The characters should all have descriptions and personality traits. For example: what is their job, what kind of clothes do they wear, what ethnicity, etc.

Note: Any time the teacher deems it necessary or just fun for that matter, feel free to have students collaborate on any number of these songs. Collaboration is built in to some of these songs, but if it’s working better to collaborate on every song, so be it. The teacher should feel free to modify or customize this curriculum accordingly. If they are learning while having fun, we have created a successful experience for them.

  1. Debrief and prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Discuss with students how creating characters and storylines of a movie can be just like creating a story song. Both develop a character, create a story with basic conflict and resolution, and create a mood. Make the analogy that they are the directors of their story songs and that creating a movie idea is very similar to writing a story song. This song will be written with a collaborator. Quickly share some characters and plotlines from each group with the class.

  1. Journals (20 min)

Have students write the story song with their songwriting partner.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Discuss some student examples and praise students.

SONG LYRICS:

CAT’S IN THE CRADLE

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin 'fore I knew it and as he grew
He'd say I'm gonna be like you dad
You know I'm gonna be like you

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin home dad
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said Thanks for the ball Dad come on let's play
Can you teach me to throw I said Not today
I got a lot to do he said that's ok
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said I'm gonna be like him yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him

CHORUS

Well he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
Son I'm proud of you can you sit for a while
He shook his head and said with a smile
What I'd really like Dad is to borrow the car keys
See you later can I have them please

CHORUS

I've long since retired my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said I'd like to see you if you don't mind
He said I'd love to Dad if I can find the time
You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you Dad
It's been sure nice talking to you

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

CHORUS

Harry Chapin

LESSON 8: I’M WITH THE BAND

CORE STANDARD: (SPEAKING AND LISTENING #1)
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
LEARNING TARGETS:

Revise and edit a song with a partner so that the structure of the song is smooth and understandable.

Speak loudly, clearly, and enthusiastically to the class while sharing presentation time with a partner.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Song-man” (see lesson 4)

  1. Song (15 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Write from the story: this technique involves developing a story and writing a song around that story. The story must include conflict and resolution.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Share some student examples. Discuss any problems or successes.

  1. Journals (15 min)

Have students finish writing, revising, and editing their story songs.

  1. Presentation (30 min)

Have students present or perform their story songs with each collaborator having some part in the presentation.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Make sure students know that they should be typing up and creating final edited songs in their portable flash drive or printing the songs out as they go. The idea being that the final songbook will be less work if they are keeping up with the process of editing, typing and storing their songs along the way.

SONG LYRICS:

TALE OF THE RAIN AND THE MOON

Let me tell you a story first told to me by a little indian boy
Once there was a beautiful woman, the moon shining up in the sky
When she smiles oceans alter their tide she is beaming tonight
As the rain fell like a sheet from the sky she reflected the light

This is the tale of the rain and the moon
You are the moon glowing for me
The moonlight is pale and the rain will come soon
I am the rain falling for you

She was smitten with rain like right from the start with his comforting touch
But his voice sounded like rolling thunder he was angry so much
He was vexed by the moon and her beautiful face and a little conversation
Rain was moody and grey but he started to warm to her adoration

CHORUS

They remain lovers to this very day or so that’s what I’m told
Now the rain talks in a much softer way and he’s not quite as cold

CHORUS

Geoff Byrd

LESSON 9: THEME SONG

CORE STANDARD: (READING #2)

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
LEARNING TARGET:

Create a song that illustrates a single-word theme.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers
-Poster board and crayons

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Class Song” (see lesson 5)

  1. Song (20 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Bridge: Part of the song that bridges two other pieces together. Often times, it is simply a departure from the rest of the song to keep things interesting. It is often referred to as the middle 8 or the glue. It can be the climax of the song as well.
Write from the theme: this technique involves choosing the theme or message first and then writing the song around that main idea.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Activity (20 min)

Today’s activity is called “Theme Park.”

Break students up into groups and give each group a poster board and crayons.
Create an amusement park name. Have each group create and draw 4 rides based on single words. The words will be themes. For example: love, courage, jealousy, and happiness. Love might be a tunnel of love ride. Courage might be a roller coaster. Jealousy might be a big green spinning ride, happiness might be a teacup ride. Creativity is king here. The point is to convey theme.

  1. Debrief activity based on concept and prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Make the analogy that creating theme park and rides based on words is similar to creating a song based on a theme. Here are just a few examples of one-word themes that students can write songs thematically:

Love
Courage
Jealousy
Happiness
Kindness
Falling
Choices
Seasons
Time
Celebration
Dance
Party
Loss
Pain
Giving

  1. Journals (20 min)

Have students write Theme Songs.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Discuss some student examples and praise students.

SONG LYRICS:

EYES WIDE OPEN

Every fall I promise I’ll crawl in the tall mountains and find the sun
In the winter like a long lost love
And every winter I forget to remember my promises
And I roll on never knowing half of me was gone
And every spring I have a dream that seems to bring back all these memories
That seem better than reality
And every summer I wake up from a slumber
Understanding reality the sun is brighter than I ever dreamed
So please don’t close your eyes this time

If I tape my eyes wide open
Would I be missing something
Could I stay awake through the winter time
Cause it seems I’m always drowsy
When the sky is cloudy
Could you wake me up when the sun decides to shine
Oh oh when the sun decides to shine

Every afternoon I pretend to know the tune
Have no fear of the nighttime drawing near
And every evening ride as all the light is out of sight
I disappear never knowing when the skies will clear
And every midnight hour I fall asleep with twice the power
And dream that I will steal away
And every morning light I reappear with tired eyes
Wondering what is real and what is fake

CHORUS

I need to stop this cycle
Oh I need to a way to power my life with fire
Need a way to refuel without sunlight burning my eyes

CHORUS

Candace Brown (age 18) and Geoff Byrd

Note: The one-word theme of this song is Seasons.

LESSON 10: GET YOUR GROOVE ON

CORE STANDARD: (READING #2)

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
LEARNING TARGET:
Revise and edit the song so that the theme is clear and concise.

Speak loudly, clearly, and enthusiastically to the class when presenting.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Echo”

  1. Song (15 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Bridge: Part of the song that bridges two other pieces together. Often times, it is simply a departure from the rest of the song to keep things interesting. It is often referred to as the middle 8 or the glue. It can be the climax of the song as well.
Write from the theme: this technique involves choosing the theme or message first and then writing the song around that main idea.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Discuss and share student examples.

  1. Journals (15 min)

Have students finish writing, revising and editing theme songs.

  1. Presentation (30 min)

Have students present or perform their collaborative theme song.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Discuss student examples and praise student work and success. Let students know they are doing a great job and keep working on their songbooks.

SONG LYRICS:

PRIVATE EYES

I see you you see me
Watch you blowin the lines
When you're making a scene
Oh girl you've got to know
What my head overlooks
The senses will show to my heart
When it's watching for lies
You can't escape my

Private Eyes they're watching you
They see your every move
Private Eyes they're watching you
Private Eyes they're watching you
Watching you watching you watching you

You play with words you play with love
You can twist it around baby that ain't enough
Cause girl I'm gonna know
If you're letting me in or letting me go
Don't lie when you're hurting inside
Cause you can't escape my

CHORUS

Why you try to put up a front for me
I'm a spy but on your side you see
Slip on, into any disguise
I'll still know you
Look into my Private Eyes

CHORUS

Daryl Hall and John Oates

LESSON 11: THIS JUST GOT PERSONAL

CORE STANDARD: (READING LITERATURE #4, 5)
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

LEARNING TARGET:

Write a song written in the first person that uses a combination of similes and metaphors to express inner feelings and thoughts.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Beats”

  1. Song (20 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Bridge: Part of the song that bridges two other pieces together. Often times, it is simply a departure from the rest of the song to keep things interesting. It is often referred to as the middle 8 or the glue. It can be the climax of the song as well.
Write from the heart: this technique involves writing from personal experience or subject matter directly from one’s own life. It can also be about expressing current feelings or capturing a moment from the writer’s own unique perspective.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Activity (20 min)

Simile: a comparison of two unlike things using like or as

Activity, teams, create three sentences that contain similes
Take a noun from column a and match it with a noun from column b using either “like” or “as.” Give two example sentences of each.

Example simile sentences:

“The mud was as sticky as bubblegum that had been chewed for an hour.”
“Her eyes were like the sky at noon.”

Non-examples:

“The fire was like a campfire.”
“The fire was like warm.”
“The pool was as wet as water.”

Column A Column B
rock leaf
fire heart
rain house
lightning lady bug
dirt train
sun kid
moon diamond
air fear
road candy
ocean cell phone

  1. Debrief activity based on concept and prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Convey to students how important similes are for writing lyrics. For example rap music uses them all the time as well as countless other styles as well. Have them write a song that is a personal song from the student’s point of view (first person) using at least 2 similes.

  1. Journals (20 min)

Have the students write a personal song with similes.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Discuss student examples and praise students.

SONG LYRICS:

DADDY

It didn’t take this long to realize
The journey through my eyes
Want you to know that I appreciate
All the memories that we create

Daddy hold my hand and never let go
As I continue to grow
So I’m thanking you for everything you do
For all the years you brought me through,

I know that sometimes
I take you for granted its true
Even though I don’t
Tell you that I love you I do

Sometimes I don’t find the words to say
But I feel it just the same
You are the best friend I’ve ever had
That’s why this song bears your name

CHORUS

Heaven forbid you’d never hear these words that I say
So that’s why I’m telling you now in my own special way

CHORUS
CHORUS

Zoey Dickson (age 14) and Geoff Byrd

LESSON 12: OPEN UP

CORE STANDARD: (READING LITERATURE #4, 5)
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
LEARNING TARGET:

Revise and edit personal song so that the figurative meanings of similes and metaphors are colorful and clear.

Speak loudly, clearly, and enthusiastically to the class while presenting the finished song.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Song-man”

  1. Song (15 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Write from the heart: this technique involves writing from personal experience or subject matter directly from one’s own life. It can also be about expressing current feelings or capturing a moment from the writer’s own unique perspective.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Discuss student examples and remind students about songbook.

  1. Journals (15 min)

Have students finish writing, revising and editing theme songs.

  1. Presentation (30 min)

Have students present or perform their personal songs.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Discuss student examples and praise students.

Note: The song examples provided in lessons 11 and 12 are personal first person songs but they don’t necessarily exemplify similes. If the teacher finds better examples, feel free to modify.

SONG LYRICS:

SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD

What have I got to do to make you love me
What have I got to do to make you care
What do I do when lightning strikes me
And I wake to find that you're not there

What do I do to make you want me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I say when it's all over
And sorry seems to be the hardest word

It's sad so sad
It's a sad sad situation
And it's getting more and more absurd
It's sad so sad
Why can't we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word

What do I do to make you love me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I do when lightning strikes me
What have I got to do
What have I got to do
When sorry seems to be the hardest word

CHORUS

Elton John Bernie Taupin

LESSON 13: IT’S UP TO YOU

CORE STANDARD: (WRITING #4)

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

LEARNING TARGET:

Review all song techniques and strategies with in order to determine an approach for the final song.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Class Song”

  1. Song (20 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Bridge: Part of the song that bridges two other pieces together. Often times, it is simply a departure from the rest of the song to keep things interesting. It is often referred to as the middle 8 or the glue. It can be the climax of the song as well.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Activity (20 min)

Today’s activity is called “Rhythm.” Students will break up into groups and create a short mini song. They will write one verse and one chorus of a rap song. Then they will perform the song as a group.

Note: It is fun when someone from the group provides rhythm and the others take turns rapping during performance.

  1. Debrief activity based on concept and prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Review all songwriting techniques introduced in this course from the beginning. Let students know they can use any of those or create their own technique for this final song. Remind students about their songbooks.

  1. Journals (20 min)

Students will write their final song. It is essentially student choice. They may also choose to finish their rap songs and work with their group for this assignment as well.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Discuss student examples.

SONG LYRICS:

FALLING AWAKE

I see the lights of Hollywood
Bright and shiny now
All my life I’ve been misunderstood
That’s about to change
I’ve got to tell myself stay in the moment
Can’t get ahead of me
Everything’s moving way too fast
I just want this dream to last

Falling awake now
No way to make out
What is real or fake now
Falling awake now
Give me a break now
What is real or fake now

Here in Los Angeles the sun shines
Beautiful everyday
All of the scripts make me feel confined
Don’t know what to say
I got to find my voice over the white noise
Some authenticity
Everything’s moving way too fast
I just want this dream to last

CHORUS

Crowds may surround me
But I still feel lonely
I need love more than I need success
But I still hope for the best

From now on I’m gonna be myself
This is the real me
I’m not doin it for fame and wealth
Or to make girls jealous of me
I got my reasons I got my freedom

CHORUS

Sophie Hamilton (age 12) and Geoff Byrd

LESSON 14: HIT THE STAGE

CORE STANDARD:

With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
LEARNING TARGET:

Write a song using techniques and strategies from previous lessons.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Echo”

  1. Song (15 min)

Hand out lyrics provided below and on CD. Teacher may choose lyrics of a different song that exemplifies lesson.

Verse: the explaining part of the song that leads up to the chorus.
Chorus: the heart of the song, the lyrical hook, and repeating theme.
Bridge: Part of the song that bridges two other pieces together. Often times, it is simply a departure from the rest of the song to keep things interesting. It is often referred to as the middle 8 or the glue. It can be the climax of the song as well.

Play song from CD while students look at lyrics. In this case, teacher may also opt to play song live via instrument, singing, or both. Have students identify the verse and chorus sections in the song. Also have students underline words and phrases that they find interesting and/or important to the song in some way. Review and discuss for understanding. Teacher should feel free to give his or her opinion about the song, the theme, the intent, and the breakdown as well as words and phrases found to be important.

  1. Prepare for journal writing (5 min)

Discuss student examples and address student issues.

  1. Journals (15 min)

Have students finish writing, revising and editing theme songs.

  1. Presentation (30 min)

Have students present or perform their song using any technique.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Make sure they bring all materials including journals, songbooks, printed songs, portable flash drive, or whatever they need to finish their final projects. The final project is the songbook. It is essentially a student written record. Some students will keep these forever. It is an amazing accomplishment for these kids. Give them a hand and some kind words.

SONG LYRICS:

UPRISING

The paranoia is in bloom the PR
Transmissions will resume they'll try to
Push drugs keep us all dumb down and hope that
We will never see the truth around, so come on

Another promise another scene another
Package not to keep us trapped in greed with all the
Green belts wrapped around our minds and endless
Red tape to keep the truth confined so come on

They will not force us
And they will stop degrading us
And they will not control us
We will be victorious so come on

Interchanging mind control come let the
Revolution take its toll if you could
Flick a switch and open your third eye you'd see that
We should never be afraid to die so come on

Rise up and take the power back it's time that
The fat cats had a heart attack you know that
Their time is coming to an end we have to
Unify and watch our flag ascend so come on

CHORUS

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey

CHORUS

MUSE

LESSON 15: FOR THE RECORD

CORE STANDARD: (WRITING #6)

With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.

LEARNING TARGET:

Edit and revise all songs.

Type and print out songs, create album art, and finish final Songbook.

MATERIALS:

-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Journals
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers
-Paper for songbook covers and art supplies

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Beats”

  1. Prepare class for workday (5 min)

  2. Work day (60 min)

Finish all late songs, make final revisions and edits, print out lyrics, create art-work, students craft their final songbook.

  1. Closure (5 min)

Go around the room and make sure all students are finished and ready to go for final presentations. If you have a class party mentioned required food or materials.

LESSON 16: FULL CIRCLE

CORE STANDARD: (SPEAKING AND LISTENING #1)

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
LEARNING TARGET:

Speak loudly, clearly, and enthusiastically to the class while presenting the finished songbook.

MATERIALS:

-Journals
-Copies of lyrics to example song
-Bring CD with example song ready to play
-CD player with speakers
-Class party materials and food

AGENDA:

  1. Icebreaker (5 min)

Today’s icebreaker is “Class Choice.” The class will choose what icebreaker they want to do on this last day.

  1. Make final presentations (40 min)

  2. Turn in final Songbook and Journal (5 min)

  3. Class Party (20 min)

Note: You have changed the life of these kids. Have a great time on this day and make sure you return the journals and notebooks to each student after they are graded and assessed. You may choose to grade them as you go and have them ready to turn back after the final song is presented. That is up to the teacher. The important thing is that they get them back. Many students will hold on to these books for years or even go on to record some of their original songs. Cheers! Great work.

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS:

RUBRIC 1: SONGS

TURNED IN ON TIME WITH STUDENTS NAME ON THE PAPER

1 2 3 4 5

SONG STRUCTURE; DID THEY INCLUDE THE CORRECT PARTS? (IE: TITLE, VERSE, CHORUS, BRIDGE)

1 2 3 4 5

EFFORT AND CREATIVITY

1 2 3 4 5

PRESENTATION WAS LOUD, CLEAR AND ENTHUSIASTIC

1 2 3 4 5

RUBRIC 2: SONGBOOK

TURNED IN ON TIME WITH NAME ON PAPER

1 2 3 4 5

COVER ART INCLUDED

1 2 3 4 5

ALL 7 SONGS TYPED WITH TITLES

1 2 3 4 5

GENERAL CRAFT AND ORGANIZATION

1 2 3 4 5

COVER2.jpg

The era of American Idol is over. These days it's all about heart filled originals! Help them through the lessons and try participating right along with them. It's therapeutic for musicians and non musicians alike! Even though this is presented in a simple, easy to understand format for kids, there are effective techniques for a master songwriter as well like keeping an ongoing list of key words and titles. Powerful stuff! Feel free to use this and share it on social media and get it out into the world. I feel the world needs more vibrant, pure imagination, creativity and music!

BIO: http://geoffbyrd.com/bio/

DONATE: http://geoffbyrd.com/donate/

WEBSITE: http://geoffbyrd.com/

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