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The Soundtrack of Your Life


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Keywords: poetry, poetic devices, literarary analysis, analysis, poetic analysis, soundtrack, song, music, poetic elements
Subject(s): Photography, Reading, Music, Writing, Technology, Video, Art, English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
View Full Text of Standards
School: Broadview-Thomson Elem School, Seattle, WA
Planned By: Shana Brown
Original Author: Shana Brown, Seattle
You have the opportunity to create a soundtrack of your own life. Your project will have two parts: cover art, complete with CD liner notes, song information and lyrics and a playlist of at least five carefully chosen songs. You will premiere your soundtrack online on a site called Glogster. Mrs. Brown will show you how to create your own “Glog.”

In students' song notes, they will analyze each song's tone, the personal significance of the song, and the poetic elements that help to create personal significance, meaning, and impact. They pair these with images, links, or possibly even a podcast or video of themselves explaining the song and create a Glogster (glogster.com) page to "premiere" their soundtracks. The list of songs can be the entire song in MP3 or WAV format or they can link to samples of the songs on sites such as Amazon if money is an issue.

RUBRIC FOLLOWS LESSON

You have the opportunity to create a soundtrack of your own life. Your project will have two parts: cover art, complete with CD liner notes, song information and lyrics and a playlist of at least five carefully chosen songs. You will premiere your soundtrack online on a site called Glogster. Mrs. Brown will show you how to create your own “Glog.”

How do I make a soundtrack? Think about what makes your favorite movie soundtracks good. It is inevitable (it cannot be avoided) that the selected music…

• Creates mood(s) for the movie;
• Reminds you of specific and special moments from the movie;
• Evokes or brings out emotion;
• Relates to the movie’s time period;
• Announces characters (think of Darth Vader’s theme!);
• Complements (makes a good combination with) important events in the movie;
• Reflects movie’s tone;
• Builds drama or tension.



Requirements for your CD cover and notes:
1. (15 points) Cover art and title. Original art and/or digital images or designs found in Glogster that reflects the theme(s) of your life
2. Lyrics. Any songs with words must have lyrics included. (points are part of #3)
3. (50 points) Song Notes with proper citations of songs. Accompanying or going with each song is an analysis of the song and how it connects to your life. The analysis will include:
a. the reason/s why the song is so meaningful or significant
b. what feelings the song brings out in you or the listener. Here is where you will include poetic elements found in your song.
c. references to specific lines or elements of the song and an explanation of their meaning (you will need to properly cite these, and Mrs. Brown will show you how)
4. (10 points) Soundtrack Notes. People you wish to thank, dedications, miscellaneous, etc.
5. (10 points) Arrangement. Make sure you arrange the songs in an order that makes sense. Mention somewhere in your notes the rationale or reasons for your arrangement.
Requirements for your Playlist. You must include no less than five songs that are significant or very important to you in some way. Choose songs that…
1. define who you are. Think about songs that reveal something about you. What is important to you? What are your core values? What is your style? What are your passions?
2. express defining moments in your life. Think about what songs were popular during joyful or sad times you experienced as well as songs that are particularly expressive or really help to explain how you felt during these times.
3. Overall. Your songs should reflect a common theme (not necessarily common music). Think of a word, phrase, or sentence that quickly, if not incompletely, defines who you are and use it to guide your choices. This could even be the title of your Soundtrack.
4. Optional: If you play an instrument, record yourself playing an important song.
Requirements for the Glog. (15 points)
1. Your playlist includes all the songs or links to samples of songs (amazon.com is a great resource)
2. An image, design, or video for each song that is NOT just a picture of the artist who performed the song. If you include the video, you need to have VERY good reasons why. Check with Mrs. Brown for approval before you do this.
3. Lyrics and Notes
4. Citations for ALL work that is not yours. This includes:
a. Images, videos, or non-clipart artwork downloaded from the internet
b. Songs, songwriter, release date, album title
5. Optional: Record a podcast of you commenting on your songs. Either read your analysis or add some additional comments that deepen your audience’s understanding of who you are as a person.

How to Analyze Songs and Poetry
1. Select your song. Make sure it is meaningful and has enough depth to be able to write something about it.
2. Get a copy of the lyrics.
3. Write two or three sentences on why you selected the song. Does this song remind you of a person, place, or event in your life? Does it help define who you are? In what way/s?
4. Write all over the lyrics. Find specific lines and places of the song that help explain why you chose the song and why it carries special meaning. This is where you will:
a. Identify poetic elements that the songwriter uses. The most common are:
Simile

Metaphor

Repetition

Personification

Imagery

Rhymescheme


b. Identify the feelings that the song brings out in your or the listener.
c. Identify specific places in the song where the singer or the instruments are particularly powerful.
d. Explain and analyze the song. In a sentence or two, write about why the songs are so powerful and what the musician or singer does to make them so powerful.
5. Combine what you wrote in 1 – 4 into a well-written paragraph or two. Make sure you refer to specific lines in the song that help explain your choice in songs. Think of them as evidence to support your choice.


Well-written analyses are…
1. clear, with an indisputable connections between the song’s or poet’s words and the interpretation;
2. consistently and effectively supported with detailed evidence;
3. the question of “why” the poet or song uses poetic devices or expresses meaning is answered completely throughout the analysis with insight and creativity
4. free of grammatical or punctuation errors;
5. words are used effectively and accurately ;
6. word choice is vivid and precise and enhances the content of the analysis;
7. verb tense is consistent and accurate throughout your analysis
8. organized, clear and easy to follow;
9. transitions are skillfully used to guide the reader through the analysis;
10. complex, sophisticated sentences are effective, engaging, and enhance the analysis of the poem or song.


TEXT FOR RUBRIC:
Soundtrack of Your Life Rubric
Popular Music Research and Writing

Name:

Criteria: Points Earned:
CD Cover Art and Notes (60 points):
1. (6 points) Cover art and title. Original art and/or digital images or designs that reflects the theme(s) of your life
2. (50 points) Song Notes (Analyses) with proper citations of songs. The analysis includes:
a. Identifies poetic elements
b. Explains the meaning of the song
c. Explains the significance of the song
d. Analyzes how the song or performer creates the tone, feeling, or meaning
e. Uses actual lines from the song to support the analysis
3. (2 points) Soundtrack Notes. People you wish to thank, dedications, miscellaneous, etc.
4. (2 points) Arrangement. The order makes sense and the rationale is included

5 Songs (5 points per song—35 points total):
(5 – 10 points) At least two songs that define who you are. Songs reveal something about you: core values, style, passions, what is most important to you
1. (5 - 10 points) At least two songs that express defining moments in your life. Popular during joyful or sad times you experienced as well as songs that are particularly expressive or really help to explain how you felt during these times.
2. (5 - 10 points) At least one choice song. Original or previously released song performed by you or a completely different song that gives us a sense of who you are, but it doesn’t exactly fit in one of the categories above
3. (5 points) Overall. Your songs reflect a common theme and “go together”

Glog (30 points):
(5 points) Your playlist includes all the songs themselves or links to samples of songs (amazon.com is a great resource for this)
(2 points per image: 10 points) Image, design, or video for each song NOT a picture of the artist who performed the song. If you include the video, you need to have VERY good reasons why. Check with Mrs. Brown for approval before you do this.
(Points awarded above) Lyrics and Notes
(5 points per song: 25 points) Citations for ALL work that is not yours. This includes:
Images, videos, or non-clipart artwork downloaded from the internet
Songs, songwriter, release date, album title
(10 points) Overall Effect and Design
Is it attractive to the eye?
Is it complete?
Is the title well-placed and clever?
Is it something that your audience is compelled to study?
(points depend on quality and appropriateness) Optional Extra Credit: Record a podcast of you commenting on your songs. Either read your analysis or add some additional comments that deepen your audience’s understanding of who you are as a person.

TOTAL: /125

Comments
I teach in a school where most of the kids live at or below the poverty level. In our school over 36 languages are spoken, and we serve autistic students in the retion. We are always looking for equipment and software that will engage them in reading and math. This type of unit REALLY gets their analytical juices flowing!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Use this for a novel, for a lit circle, for a historical era, the possibilities are boundless!
Follow-Up
Post on your school website, link to VoiceThread, have a real "Premiere" in the evening with refreshments and an MC.
Links: Link to Glogster
Materials: Headsets, Microphones, Point and Shoot, English/Language Arts
Other Items: 4 Toon Boom Studio 4 Animation Software, $149.99 each, total of $599.96
5 Heavy duty headphones, $35.00 each, total of $175.00
4 Microphone with noise cancellation, $19.98 each, total of $79.92
2 Flip UltraHD Video Camera (2 for 1), $150.00 each, total of $300.00