Scoring a Text (Soundscape)

This assignment is a fun exercise to review basic literary terms like tone, mood, suspense, action, etc.  It’s also a good way for students to review basic iPad skills as they create a musical score to accompany a text using GarageBand on their iPads.

Grade Level/Age: 10th grade (15-16 years)

Curriculum Addressed: The focus of the curriculum is on comprehension, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning.

Process Goals: Students will create a soundscape to accompany a text.

Materials: Any text would work for this assignment, but I’ve found that shorter texts (5-7 minutes) work best.  

Desired Understandings: Students will utilize comprehension, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning as they make artistic choices in creating a musical score to accompany a recorded text using GarageBand.


  1. Students pick an appropriate text to read.  
  2. Individually or with partners, students discuss the text for comprehension. 
  3. Using GarageBand, students create an audio recording of the text. 
  4. Next, students make artistic choices as they create an original musical score to accompany the audio recording of the text.
  5. Students post their final recordings online to present to the class. 
  6. As a final assessment, students compose an artist’s statement explaining the rationale behind their choices in the creation of the musical score.


Standard 1: Oral Expression and Listening

  1. Content that is gathered carefully and organized well successfully influences an audience.
  2. Effectively operating in small and large groups to accomplish a goal requires active listening

Standard 2: Reading for All Purposes

  1. Literary and historical influences determine the meaning of traditional and contemporary literary texts. 

Standard 3:  Writing and Composition

  1. Literary or narrative genres feature a variety of stylistic devices to engage or entertain an audience.
  2. Organizational writing patterns inform or persuade an audience.

Assessment:  I use two rubrics to assess students’ musical scores – our department’s AP extended composition rubric (50%) and our department’s professionalism rubric (50%).  The extended composition rubric assesses the written artist’s statement, while the professionalism rubric evaluates students’ process through the activity.

Adaptions/Accommodations:  I will change the length of the final recording and artist’s statement to suit students’ needs.  Additionally, I can assign appropriate level texts to students as needed.