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Lesson Plan

Music and Me: Visual Representations of Lyrics to Popular Music

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.

Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.

Tampa, Florida

Denise Haunstetter

Tampa, Florida


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



You can get your students to practice critical literacy without resorting to book interpretation. Instead, using texts such as song lyrics can engage students, while related images can be used as interpretive tools. In this lesson, students choose a song that they like. Then, they interpret the meaning of the lyrics by making personal connections, critically analyzing their interpretations, and planning how to represent them with images. After collecting digital images, they use Windows Movie Maker to create a photomontage movie. Then, students share their movies and reflect on both their own and their peers' work.

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Music and Me Idea Map: This tool allows students to visually organize details about their song’s lyrics, as well develop a sequence of ideas for their photomontage movie.

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Callow, J. (2003). Talking about visual texts with students. Reading Online, 6(8).

  • Students working with visual "texts" need to understand the technical skills to manipulate text, image, and color-but they also need to understand how these elements work together to create meaning.

  • It is important for teachers to model how to talk about visual texts by looking at them with students and pointing out how these different elements have been used to create meaning. Explicit articulation of these ideas helps students assess their own work more thoughtfully and completely.


Muffoletto, R. (2001). An inquiry into the nature of Uncle Joe's representation and meaning. Reading Online, 4(8). Available: http://www.readingonline.org/newliteracies/lit_index.asp?HREF=/newliteracies/muffoletto/index.html

  • Being visually literate means that a student can produce and "read" visual texts.

  • To be visually literate, a student should actively engage in asking questions and seeking a variety of answers and interpretations of a visual project.


Alvermann, D.E., Moon, J.S., & Hagood, M.C. (1999). Popular culture in the classroom: Teaching and researching critical media literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

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