(adapted from Goering 2009)
This is a great assignment for personal narrative writing. Completed through a process, students connect memories to songs, starting with people, places, and events directly associated with a song and moving to more abstract connections, connecting themes and content of a song to something important in their lives.
Grade Level/Age: 10th grade (15-16 years)
Curriculum Addressed: Critical thinking, literary analysis, and communication.
Process Goals: Students create a personal narrative examining the connection between a song’s content and their personal experience.
Materials: Any source could be adapted for use with this activity.
Desired Understandings: Students will continue to home their critical thinking, literary analysis, and communication skills as they explore shared connections between personal experience and music.
- Students make a list of the eight to ten events, people, or places having had the largest impact on making them who they are.
- From this initial list, students next connect these memories to songs. Sometimes, songs are playing during events or specific people or places are directly associated with a song. Other times, students choose songs in more abstract ways, connecting themes and content of a song to something important in their lives.
- Next, students explain each connection in narrative form, providing details which make the connection clear to the reader.
- Finally, students choose a single memory and song to develop into an extended composition. As an extension, final compositions can be presented to the class or adapted into an iMovie digital essay.
Standard 2: Reading for All Purposes
- Literary and historical influences determine the meaning of traditional and contemporary literary texts.
Standard 3: Writing and Composition
- Literary or narrative genres feature a variety of stylistic devices to engage or entertain an audience.
- Organizational writing patterns inform or persuade an audience.
- Grammar, language usage, mechanics, and clarity are the basis of ongoing refinements and revisions within the writing process.
Assessment: I use two rubrics to evaluate students’ performances – our English Department’s AP Quick Write and extended composition writing rubrics.
Adaptions/Accommodations: I expect all students to do their best in completing the assignment. I limit the number of responses students develop before choosing their central song for the final composition. I also adapt the length of the assignment as needed.