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Lesson Plan

Songs of Our Lives: Using Lyrics to Write Stories

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Songs of Our Lives: Using Lyrics to Write Stories

Grades 5 – 10
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Cathy Allen Simon

Cathy Allen Simon

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students learn about the life of John Lennon through his lyrics in a breathtaking book, John's Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon by Dorren Rappaport. After studying the life of Lennon, students write a short story from their lives following the style of Rappaport by weaving lyrics from some of their favorite songs throughout.† Finally, students create a classroom book including each student's story from their life.

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Graphic Map: This online tool allows students to graphically map the high and low points related to a particular item or group of items, such as life events.

Johnís Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon (Hyperion, 2004): Students read this book as a class to learn about the life of John Lennon and understand the authorís style of integrating song lyrics within the text.

Book Cover Creator: Using this feature, students can fully develop the front and back cover of their classroom book of stories.

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Does nonprint media-television shows, films, and songs-belong in the classroom? Absolutely! Nonprint media reach students and make connections in different ways from print media. Further, nonprint media often focus on contemporary topics that are not yet included in classroom textbooks. Jerome Evans states, "Artifacts of pop culture serve as advanced organizers for students, who can then connect new material (prominent and persistent themes in American literature) to their own experiences with literature (song lyrics). Once they see that songwriters and performers develop themes in the music they enjoy, discovering those themes (and, of course, others) in literature new to them is simply not so difficult." As Evans discusses, the use of nonprint media aids students when they do need to read and respond to print media.

Further Reading

Evans, Jerome. "From Sheryl Crow to Homer Simpson: Literature and Composition through Pop Culture." English Journal 93.3 (January 2004): 34-38.

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