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Lesson Plan Collections

  • The Music that Shaped America

    4 Lessons
    TeachRock is proud to present The Music that Shaped America, a lesson collection that draws on the rich archive of Alan Lomax’s Association for Cultural Equity, enlivening American history of the 18th through early 20th centuries with the sounds of regional folk musics and the personal stories of its performers. A musicologist, writer, producer, singer, and talent scout, Alan Lomax was above all else an advocate for working class people. Feeling that it is “the voiceless people of the planet who really have in their memories the 90,000 years of human life and wisdom,” Lomax dedicated his life to recording, preserving, and broadcasting traditional musicians from around the world, giving voice to those that the commercial music industry had long ignored. The Music that Shaped America is standards-aligned and compatible with AP History and other curriculums. Students will explore U.S. social history and events through the words and music of ex-slaves, Appalachian mine workers, Cajun farmers, Mississippi sharecroppers and more.

    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    5 Lessons
    The award-winning documentary RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World tells the story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. The standards-aligned TeachRock RUMBLE lesson plans can help you bring that story into the classroom. Drawing on short clips from the film, troves of source documents, archival photos, and journalism, the TeachRock RUMBLE lessons introduce students to important Native American musicians including Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Salas, Redbone, Buffy St. Marie, Robbie Robertson, and the Black Eyed Pea’s Taboo. The materials require students to engage in thoughtful discussion of contemporary issues such as identity and cultural appropriation, and to imagine key moments in American history from a Native perspective.

    Book 1: Birth of Rock

    20 Lessons
    In the mid-1950s, Rock and Roll slammed into the consciousness of the American people. Whether you liked it or not, there was no denying that Rock and Roll had arrived. It was the first American musical tradition constructed from the many musical traditions that animated life in the 20th century, including Gospel, Blues, Country, Jazz and R&B. In bringing together these musical bloodlines, Rock and Roll also brought people together, from across regions, across race and class lines, and, finally, across oceans. It was the beginning of a historical turn that would change daily life in the modern world. This first section, The Birth of Rock and Roll, explores the roots of Rock and Roll, its emergence and its entrance into the cultural mainstream of America.

    Book 2: Teenage Rebellion

    17 Lessons
    From its raucous beginnings to the time of its mainstream acceptance, Rock and Roll was youth music. More exactly, it was the music of the teenager. Born of postwar affluence and the increased leisure time such affluence afforded young Americans, the teenager was a thing new to the American landscape. If for some they were an object of anxiety, this had everything to do with the fact that teenagers defined themselves in opposition to the parent generation. Rebellion was a part of being a teenager. And Rock and Roll was an expression of that rebellion and of the growing gap between generations. From the teen surf culture celebrated in the music of the Beach Boys to the mini-melodramas of the Shangri-Las’ Girl Group sound and teen dances including the Twist, the Stroll, the Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, the world of the teenager was made larger and more powerful through the music itself. As 60s Soul and the British Invasion demonstrated, it would be the teenagers, inspired by their music, who would define American life moving forward.
  • Book 3: Transformation

    19 Lessons
    The teenage culture of the fifties and early sixties was the seedbed for the youth-driven counterculture of the late sixties and early seventies. This shift toward a countercultural sensibility among young people was reflected in the music itself. If in the fifties Rock and Roll had been viewed primarily as a popular entertainment, in the period of “transformation” it would come to be viewed as--in its most elevated forms--an Art. In the hands of Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and others, music became a “serious” thing. As young people faced the troubling facts of a war that included them and a country that refused them the right to vote, music now offered, among other things, a megaphone through which their disillusionment could be voiced. As the nation saw the rise of the Civil Rights movement and the Black Power movement that followed, artists like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder used music to express feelings of frustration about the racial divide and excitement around the possibility of change. And as the music addressed the world of which it was a part, the music grew more complex, more varied—but, importantly, that music was also changing the world in ways it hadn’t previously.

    Book 4: Fragmentation

    19 Lessons
    For a brief time, Rock and Roll seemed almost to be building its own utopia. In late sixties Rock and Roll culture in particular, the walls erected in the wider world - between the races, between men and women, between nations - seemed to collapse. The record collections of the young Rock and Roll audience often included R&B, Hard Rock, Blues, Pop, Jazz, Country, and more. Free Form FM radio mirrored this eclectic but inclusive approach to music by creating inventive playlists unbound by genre. And, then, as the “Fragmentation” crept in, the old walls seemed to reassert themselves. Fan communities, radio formats, and, indeed, even personal record collections came to be defined by genre. Hard lines were drawn. Punks defined themselves in opposition to the fans of arena rock groups like Led Zeppelin. Grunge borrowed from Heavy Metal but, more adamantly still, refused the theater of Heavy Metal. Radio was again split down racial lines. If Rock and Roll culture, in the broad sense, had been connected with youth culture as a whole, and this brought different genres and traditions into dialogue with one another, now Rock and Roll culture grew increasingly fragmented. It wouldn’t mean the end of the music. But some of the promise of late sixties Rock and Roll was, for the moment, compromised.

    Sun City

    2 Lessons
    During apartheid, blacks were stripped of citizenship, separated by tribal ethnicity, and forcibly relocated to reservations called “bantustans.” The white minority government employed fear to maintain control, suppressing criticism with unchecked violence, and imprisoning anyone who dared question apartheid in public. The 100th TeachRock lesson plan uses Steven Van Zandt’s Artists United Against Apartheid “Sun City” project as a gateway to an exploration of apartheid and various international attempts to end it.

    Sonic Highways

    2 Lessons
  • The Beatles

    6 Lessons
    TeachRock has created extensive educational materials to accompany director Ron Howard’s TheBeatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years. Exploring The Beatles as an unprecedented musical and social force, the various lessons expose the profound changes that came with “Beatlemania” and feature clips from the film, along with other multimedia assets.

    PBS Soundbreaking

    20 Lessons
    TeachRock has partnered with PBS, Higher Ground, and Show of Force to create  materials that bring the eight-part, Emmy and Grammy nominated Soundbreaking series into K-12 classrooms. The standards-aligned lessons are tailored for students in social studies, language arts, geography, science, and general music classes, and feature rich educational resources, including the interactive Soundbreaking TechTools that allow students to experience firsthand the technological breakthroughs explored on screen.

    Partnership Lessons: Little Kids Rock

    20 Lessons
    The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation has partnered with Little Kids Rock to present a series of interdisciplinary lessons. Little Kids Rock is a national nonprofit that trains public school teachers to deliver Modern Band music classes and provides instruments to the schools at no cost. This innovative series of lessons contextualizes specific songs from the Little Kids Rock songbook. Learning to play a song on guitar, on piano, on drums, or on any other instrument is an experience like no other. It’s powerful. But, by approaching music through a social and historical lens, learning to play a song can become a richer experience still. When the student who learns a Jimi Hendrix song or a Bob Dylan song approaches it as a living piece of history, as a cultural fragment with stories embedded in it, that student can  build a deeper connection to the music. Each of the following chapters is based around a song and includes Little Kids Rock Modern Band charts and a Rock and Roll Forever Foundation interdisciplinary lesson. Our approach is straightforward. We put the music in context. Every song and every recording belongs to a moment in time. In the lessons that follow, we explore the categories of person, place, and time as they relate to specific songs. This methodology serves as a launching pad, helping to situate a song historically, geographically, and socially.
  • The Music that Shaped America

    4 Lessons
    TeachRock is proud to present The Music that Shaped America, a lesson collection that draws on the rich archive of Alan Lomax’s Association for Cultural Equity, enlivening American history of the 18th through early 20th centuries with the sounds of regional folk musics and the personal stories of its performers. A musicologist, writer, producer, singer, and talent scout, Alan Lomax was above all else an advocate for working class people. Feeling that it is “the voiceless people of the planet who really have in their memories the 90,000 years of human life and wisdom,” Lomax dedicated his life to recording, preserving, and broadcasting traditional musicians from around the world, giving voice to those that the commercial music industry had long ignored. The Music that Shaped America is standards-aligned and compatible with AP History and other curriculums. Students will explore U.S. social history and events through the words and music of ex-slaves, Appalachian mine workers, Cajun farmers, Mississippi sharecroppers and more.
  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    5 Lessons
    The award-winning documentary RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World tells the story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. The standards-aligned TeachRock RUMBLE lesson plans can help you bring that story into the classroom. Drawing on short clips from the film, troves of source documents, archival photos, and journalism, the TeachRock RUMBLE lessons introduce students to important Native American musicians including Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Salas, Redbone, Buffy St. Marie, Robbie Robertson, and the Black Eyed Pea’s Taboo. The materials require students to engage in thoughtful discussion of contemporary issues such as identity and cultural appropriation, and to imagine key moments in American history from a Native perspective.
  • Book 1: Birth of Rock

    20 Lessons
    In the mid-1950s, Rock and Roll slammed into the consciousness of the American people. Whether you liked it or not, there was no denying that Rock and Roll had arrived. It was the first American musical tradition constructed from the many musical traditions that animated life in the 20th century, including Gospel, Blues, Country, Jazz and R&B. In bringing together these musical bloodlines, Rock and Roll also brought people together, from across regions, across race and class lines, and, finally, across oceans. It was the beginning of a historical turn that would change daily life in the modern world. This first section, The Birth of Rock and Roll, explores the roots of Rock and Roll, its emergence and its entrance into the cultural mainstream of America.
  • Book 2: Teenage Rebellion

    17 Lessons
    From its raucous beginnings to the time of its mainstream acceptance, Rock and Roll was youth music. More exactly, it was the music of the teenager. Born of postwar affluence and the increased leisure time such affluence afforded young Americans, the teenager was a thing new to the American landscape. If for some they were an object of anxiety, this had everything to do with the fact that teenagers defined themselves in opposition to the parent generation. Rebellion was a part of being a teenager. And Rock and Roll was an expression of that rebellion and of the growing gap between generations. From the teen surf culture celebrated in the music of the Beach Boys to the mini-melodramas of the Shangri-Las’ Girl Group sound and teen dances including the Twist, the Stroll, the Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, the world of the teenager was made larger and more powerful through the music itself. As 60s Soul and the British Invasion demonstrated, it would be the teenagers, inspired by their music, who would define American life moving forward.
  • Book 3: Transformation

    19 Lessons
    The teenage culture of the fifties and early sixties was the seedbed for the youth-driven counterculture of the late sixties and early seventies. This shift toward a countercultural sensibility among young people was reflected in the music itself. If in the fifties Rock and Roll had been viewed primarily as a popular entertainment, in the period of “transformation” it would come to be viewed as--in its most elevated forms--an Art. In the hands of Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and others, music became a “serious” thing. As young people faced the troubling facts of a war that included them and a country that refused them the right to vote, music now offered, among other things, a megaphone through which their disillusionment could be voiced. As the nation saw the rise of the Civil Rights movement and the Black Power movement that followed, artists like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder used music to express feelings of frustration about the racial divide and excitement around the possibility of change. And as the music addressed the world of which it was a part, the music grew more complex, more varied—but, importantly, that music was also changing the world in ways it hadn’t previously.
  • Book 4: Fragmentation

    19 Lessons
    For a brief time, Rock and Roll seemed almost to be building its own utopia. In late sixties Rock and Roll culture in particular, the walls erected in the wider world - between the races, between men and women, between nations - seemed to collapse. The record collections of the young Rock and Roll audience often included R&B, Hard Rock, Blues, Pop, Jazz, Country, and more. Free Form FM radio mirrored this eclectic but inclusive approach to music by creating inventive playlists unbound by genre. And, then, as the “Fragmentation” crept in, the old walls seemed to reassert themselves. Fan communities, radio formats, and, indeed, even personal record collections came to be defined by genre. Hard lines were drawn. Punks defined themselves in opposition to the fans of arena rock groups like Led Zeppelin. Grunge borrowed from Heavy Metal but, more adamantly still, refused the theater of Heavy Metal. Radio was again split down racial lines. If Rock and Roll culture, in the broad sense, had been connected with youth culture as a whole, and this brought different genres and traditions into dialogue with one another, now Rock and Roll culture grew increasingly fragmented. It wouldn’t mean the end of the music. But some of the promise of late sixties Rock and Roll was, for the moment, compromised.
  • Sun City

    2 Lessons
    During apartheid, blacks were stripped of citizenship, separated by tribal ethnicity, and forcibly relocated to reservations called “bantustans.” The white minority government employed fear to maintain control, suppressing criticism with unchecked violence, and imprisoning anyone who dared question apartheid in public. The 100th TeachRock lesson plan uses Steven Van Zandt’s Artists United Against Apartheid “Sun City” project as a gateway to an exploration of apartheid and various international attempts to end it.
  • The Beatles

    6 Lessons
    TeachRock has created extensive educational materials to accompany director Ron Howard’s TheBeatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years. Exploring The Beatles as an unprecedented musical and social force, the various lessons expose the profound changes that came with “Beatlemania” and feature clips from the film, along with other multimedia assets.
  • PBS Soundbreaking

    20 Lessons
    TeachRock has partnered with PBS, Higher Ground, and Show of Force to create  materials that bring the eight-part, Emmy and Grammy nominated Soundbreaking series into K-12 classrooms. The standards-aligned lessons are tailored for students in social studies, language arts, geography, science, and general music classes, and feature rich educational resources, including the interactive Soundbreaking TechTools that allow students to experience firsthand the technological breakthroughs explored on screen.
  • Partnership Lessons: Little Kids Rock

    20 Lessons
    The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation has partnered with Little Kids Rock to present a series of interdisciplinary lessons. Little Kids Rock is a national nonprofit that trains public school teachers to deliver Modern Band music classes and provides instruments to the schools at no cost. This innovative series of lessons contextualizes specific songs from the Little Kids Rock songbook. Learning to play a song on guitar, on piano, on drums, or on any other instrument is an experience like no other. It’s powerful. But, by approaching music through a social and historical lens, learning to play a song can become a richer experience still. When the student who learns a Jimi Hendrix song or a Bob Dylan song approaches it as a living piece of history, as a cultural fragment with stories embedded in it, that student can  build a deeper connection to the music. Each of the following chapters is based around a song and includes Little Kids Rock Modern Band charts and a Rock and Roll Forever Foundation interdisciplinary lesson. Our approach is straightforward. We put the music in context. Every song and every recording belongs to a moment in time. In the lessons that follow, we explore the categories of person, place, and time as they relate to specific songs. This methodology serves as a launching pad, helping to situate a song historically, geographically, and socially.