Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Music and Me: Visual Representations of Lyrics to Popular Music

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

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


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Sessions 4 through 6

Session 7


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Make text-to-self connections by examining the lyrics to a song they have chosen and describing how they relate to the words and music

  • Express and organize their thoughts by using graphic organizers

  • Practice interpretation by reading song lyrics both with and without music and by choosing images that represent the text-to-self connections they have made

  • Increase their technical skills by learning how to acquire images digitally and how to use Windows Movie Maker

  • Apply what they have learned by creating a photomontage movie

  • Analyze their own work as well as the work of their peers by looking at the movies and filling out evaluation forms

back to top


Session 1

Note: Prior to this session, students should choose their song and listen to it.

1. Hand out the Music and Me Project Instructions and read through the objectives of the assignment with your students.

2. Ask students to think about the song they chose and ask themselves the questions listed under “Guiding Questions: Set 1” of the instruction sheet. To model the process, you can first put the questions on the board and ask individual students to answer the questions, providing feedback that will assist other students in answering the questions.

3. Students should work individually on filling in their answers to the questions. When they are finished, they should share their answers either with the whole class or in small groups. They can ask for assistance or suggestions from their peers or from you.

Homework (due at the beginning of Session 2): Students should bring a copy of the lyrics they have chosen to class.

back to top


Session 2

1. Using an overhead projector, show students the transparency of the Music and Me Idea Map. Distribute the printed lyrics of the song you have chosen and ask students to read them.

2. Use the “Guiding Questions: Set 2” from the Music and Me Project Instructions sheet and demonstrate how you would fill in the Idea Map. Fill in a couple of spaces yourself. Then ask students to add their ideas to the map.

3. Ask students to fill in the second set of guiding questions on their Project Instructions sheet.

4. Distribute blank copies of the Idea Map and give students time to fill them in. They should write their song title in the middle, write down key words, and make sketches of images that come to mind when reading the lyrics.

5. Ask students to read through the lyrics again and check their Idea Maps to make sure they captured the mood of the song to their satisfaction. Ask them to note questions they have and ask themselves what bothered or concerned them as they worked? What interested them? What did they find confusing?

6. Students should discuss these thoughts with a partner. They can also ask their partners for help with words or ideas for images. Questions to consider include: How do you feel about this song? What do you think about the words I chose? What words would you choose?

7. Students should then revise their web, making note of the discussions they had with their partners and making any changes they feel make a more powerful statement about the song.

Homework (due at the beginning of Session 3): Students should bring in a recorded version of the song they have chosen as well as their filled-in Idea Maps.

back to top


Session 3

1. Distribute blank copies of the Music and Me Idea Map. Tell students that you are all going to fill them out after listening to the song you have chosen. Explain that you are going to use a visualization strategy while the song plays: You will close your eyes and see what pictures or words pop into the “TV” inside your head.

2. Play the song you have chosen. Using the Idea Map overhead, write words or draw sketches of images you see while the song is playing. When the music is finished, add any additional thoughts that come to mind. Ask students to share their ideas as well, until the bubbles are filled in.

3. If you have headphones and computers available for students in your lab or classroom, ask students to complete this visualization activity with their own songs. Questions for them to consider as they work include:
  • What do I think of when this song is playing?

  • How does the music make me feel?

  • What does this song remind me of?

  • Are there any parts in the song where the music adds power to the lyrics?
They should use a blank copy of the Music and Me Idea Map to write down key words and make sketches of images that come to mind when hearing the song play.

Note: If you do not have headphones for students to use, they should complete this activity for homework.

4. Ask students to compare this web with the one they created during Session 2. They should fill in the answers to the “Guided Questions: Set 3” on their Music and Me Project Instructions sheet.

5. If you have time, use Tech-Ease: Images Q & A for Mac and PC to help students understand the process of creating digital images. If not, you can ask them to do this for homework.

Homework: Students can prepare for the moviemaking sessions at home by gathering images to use in their movies. The questions they have answered and their Idea Maps should serve as guidelines for the type of images they want to use.
Students can assemble images in a variety of ways, such as by:

  • Taking photos using either a digital or conventional camera (if they use the former, they should make a photo CD; if they use the latter, they should make a CD or scan the images).

  • Collecting images from magazines or books (again, these will need to be scanned).

  • Searching the Internet for images. Please note that you should consult your school’s guidelines regarding safe Internet usage before allowing students to conduct an open search. In addition, your students should access and follow Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for School Projects.

If students have difficulty accessing equipment, provide a few disposable cameras for them to use. You might also want to refer students to the training information on Tech-Ease: Images Q & A for Mac and PC so that students can practice using the software if they choose.

You should provide at least a week for students to collect their images.

back to top


Sessions 4 through 6

Note: During these sessions, students will import the images into Windows Movie Maker and make a photomontage movie to play along with the music to their song. They should bring all of the images they have collected for homework. If you have not already done so, distribute Using Movie Maker to Create Photomontage Movies to students.

1. Introduce this part of the project. Tell students that they are to create a movie that connects the song to their personal experience.

2. Using an LCD projector if one is available, show the students how to open Movie Maker and import images into the program. Then show them how to open the storyboard and click and drag the images into place.

3. Have the students work on this part of the lesson and assist them as needed.

4. Students then need to decide what effects and transitions they will use and why. Once again, model this process, showing them what the various transitions and effects look like when you play them back. Ask them to brainstorm some ideas about how the transitions and effects add to meaning. Students may choose to consult their Music and Me Idea Maps for inspiration while they work.

5. While they are working, circulate around the room to provide assistance and encouragement. You may also use peer feedback by asking half of the students to stay at their computers and work while the other half circulates and provides suggestions.

back to top


Session 7

1. Invite students to share their movies. You might choose to have them look at each other’s work on the computers. Or students can also do formal presentations where they show their videos with an LCD projector.

2. After the presentations, have students choose a few peers to fill out the Music and My Friends: Evaluating Classmate’s Work for their movies.

3. Finally, ask students to self-evaluate, using the Self-Reflection on the Music and Me Project form.

back to top



back to top



  • Make text-to-self connections by examining the lyrics to a song they chose

  • Express and organize their thoughts by using graphic organizers

  • Interpret the song lyrics both with and without music

back to top