lesson:

Rock and Roll and the American Dream

Grades: High
Subjects: ELA, Social Studies/History
Activities: Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

What is the American Dream and how did Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash personify its ideals?

lesson:

“Hound Dog” and 1950 Race Relations

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music
Activities: Maps, Musical Analysis

How does the story of “Hound Dog” demonstrate music culture’s racial mixing as it differed from mainstream American life in the 1950s?

lesson:

Producing the Sounds of a Changing South

Grades: High
Subjects: General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Gallery Walk, Textual Analysis

How did the recordings Sam Phillips produced at Sun Records, including Elvis Presley’s early work, reflect trends of urbanization and integration in the 1950s American South?

lesson:

The Memphis Sound and Racial Integration

Grades: High
Subjects: ELA, Social Studies/History
Activities: Gallery Walk, Maps, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

How has Memphis music culture provided one example of art’s capacity to challenge the racial boundaries that have so often structured American life?

lesson:

Gospel Music and the Birth of Soul

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Musical Analysis, Textual Analysis

How did Gospel influence American popular music?

lesson:

Fear of the American Teenager

Grades: High
Subjects: ELA, Social Studies/History
Activities: Charts and Graphs, Role Playing, Structured Academic Controversy, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

What made the teenager a source of anxiety during the 1950s?

lesson:

The Rise of the Electric Guitar

Grades: High
Subjects: General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Charts and Graphs, Four Corners, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis, Visual Design

What factors led to the rise of the electric guitar as the dominant symbol of Rock and Roll?

lesson:

The Roots of Country Rock

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music
Activities: Musical Analysis, Textual Analysis

How did Country Music influence Rock and Roll and the musicians who made it?

lesson:

Considering the Future of Rock and Roll

Grades: High
Subjects: ELA, Social Studies/History
Activities: Role Playing, Textual Analysis

How is Rock and Roll's power, at least in part, a result of its being born on the margins of society?

lesson:

Dion and the Teen Idols

Grades: High
Subjects: ELA, Social Studies/History
Activities: Role Playing, Visual Analysis

What role did the so-called "teen idols" of the late 1950s play in bringing Rock and Roll into mainstream American culture?

lesson:

Rock and Roll Goes to the Movies

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Station Activities, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

How did movies help to introduce Rock and Roll culture to mainstream audiences in the 1950s?

lesson:

The Beatles and Teen Culture

Grades: High
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

How did the Beatles’ image as a “rock band” affect young people in America?

lesson:

The Emergence of Folk Rock

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Musical Analysis

What is Folk music? To what extent did Folk Rock sustain the spirit of Folk music?

lesson:

Ritchie Valens

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music
Activities: Musical Analysis, Role Playing

How did Ritchie Valens meld traditional Mexican music and Rock and Roll?

lesson:

Liverpool: The Birthplace of the Beatles

Grades: High
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Maps, Station Activities, Textual Analysis

How did growing up in post-WWII Liverpool influence the Beatles?

lesson:

Punk as Reaction

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: Art, Social Studies/History
Activities: Role Playing, Station Activities, Visual Analysis, Visual Design

How was Punk Rock a reaction both to the commercialization of Rock and Roll and to the social climate in late 1970s Britain?

lesson:

Introducing New Wave

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music
Activities: Musical Analysis

What did Punk Rock provide that opened the door for New Wave acts? And what are some among the defining attributes of New Wave?

lesson:

How to Study Rock and Roll

Grades: All Ages, AP/Honors/101, Elementary, High, Middle
Subjects: ELA, General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Textual Analysis, Timeline, Visual Analysis

How can teachers help students analyze and understand Rock and Roll?

lesson:

Beatlemania

Grades: High
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Four Corners, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

What were the factors that contributed to the rise of Beatlemania?

lesson:

The Influence of Rhythm and Blues

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Musical Analysis, Textual Analysis

What did R&B bring to early Rock and Roll, and how was early Rock and Roll different?

lesson:

Bo Diddley: The Grandfather of Hip Hop?

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Musical Analysis, Textual Analysis

How were Bo Diddley’s recordings an anomaly in relation to 1950s Pop music, and how is his rhythm-driven sound and self-presentation a precursor to Hip Hop style?

lesson:

World War II and the Shrinking of the Ensemble

Grades: High
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Charts and Graphs, Role Playing, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

How did wartime restrictions and other factors cause popular music ensembles to shrink in size during the 1940s, helping to set the stage for the small “combos” of Rock and Roll?

lesson:

“Blowin’ in the Wind” as a Rallying Cry

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: ELA, General Music
Activities: Musical Analysis, Textual Analysis, Timeline

How does the song “Blowin’ in the Wind” use poetic devices to communicate an open-ended yet powerful message about the human condition, without ever losing its historical specificity?

lesson:

The Beatles Work Towards Success

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: Social Studies/History, STEAM
Activities: Equations and Calculations, Maps, Textual Analysis, Timeline, Visual Analysis

How did The Beatles' rigorous work schedule during the years 1960-63 build their strengths as performers, as musicians, and as a band?

lesson:

The Indigenous Roots of Rock and Roll

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High
Subjects: ELA, Social Studies/History
Activities: Document-Based Questions, Interactive Tech Tools, Role Playing, Station Activities, Textual Analysis

What does Link Wray’s biography say about how Native Americans lived in the first half of the 20th century, and what role did Wray’s upbringing have on his music?

lesson:

Dancing the Twist on Television

Grades: High
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Charts and Graphs, Role Playing, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

How did teen dance shows and the Twist influence American culture?

lesson:

Ritchie Valens (Elementary School Version)

Grades: Elementary
Subjects: General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Musical Analysis, Personal Reflection, Textual Analysis

How did Ritchie Valens meld traditional Mexican music and Rock and Roll?