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Activity

Soundtrack for My Life

 

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Soundtrack for My Life

Grades 9 – 12
Activity Time Several hours (can be done over different days)
Activity Author

Susan Spangler

Susan Spangler

Fredonia, New York

 
Publisher National Council of Teachers of English
 

What You Need

Here's What To Do

More Ideas To Try

Glossary

 

What You Need

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Here's What To Do

  1. Begin this project by having teens brainstorm up to 10 major events in their lives. They can work with others in a group or individually to build a list of any events that hold personal significance. Here are some possible suggestions:

    • First day of school (e.g., preschool, kindergarten, first grade, middle school, high school)
    • A special family trip or vacation
    • A family event or milestone
    • A personal achievement (e.g., first place in a competition)
    • A personal loss
  2. Next to each event, ask the teen to write a short description or related key words.
  3. Make sure each person has 5 index cards. Ask the teens to narrow down their list and select up to 5 events and record them on the index cards.
  4. Using those events, ask teens to think about the events described and to connect songs to these events. For example, someone might associate a love song with a family member's wedding ceremony.
  5. Be sure to discuss lyrics with participants to assure that song selections are appropriate for all audiences.  Emphasize that they should avoid using music that involves profanity or derogatory remarks towards any race, gender, sexual orientation and/or religious affiliation.
  6. Teens can write or type of the scenes from their lives, using their selected events and music. Encourage students to think of this information as similar to liner notes that might accompany a CD and provide background information on the songs.
  7. If desired, teens can burn their own CDs with their selected music on them. They can create their own CD covers using the CD/DVD Cover Creator. They can also add illustrations and pictures to help them share their life events.
  8. Alternately, students can also create playlists of the songs on MP3 players (e.g., iPods). For more information on how to use that online tool, visit the CD/DVD Cover Creator Tool page.
  9. Make time for teens to share their soundtracks with others.

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More Ideas To Try

  • Teens can create PowerPoint presentations of their soundtracks by adding pictures and illustrations to the autobiographical events and music.
  • Use these resources to familiarize the teens with PowerPoint:
  • Once everyone is comfortable with PowerPoint and has practiced with the software, have them begin creating slides using their notecards as a first draft of the slides.
  • Share this adding sounds page, which details how to add portions of a song from a CD to a PowerPoint slide, with participants.
  • Have a showcase night where everyone presents their PowerPoint autobiographies to a group. Use a projector if one is available.
  • It is fun to turn these autobiographies into a story. Visit the Sample Multimodal Autobiography for more ideas.

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Glossary

Autobiography

 

The fact-based account of a person’s life story, told by him- or herself.

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