Songs are portals–look into them and you can explore the world in which they were made, see the social, cultural, and political landscapes that affected their making and their makers. In many ways, the story of popular music in America is the story of America. Though we’re 120 lesson plans deep in the exploration of that story at TeachRock, we feel we’ve just begun. In the coming months, we’ll be working on projects that use music to engage topics from the Civil War to the present, including a full music and literature based ELA unit, a set of DBQs for AP History students, lessons for art classrooms, and social emotional learning lessons.
While we strive to be the most comprehensive resource for educators and students, we also know that even too much of a good thing can become overwhelming. With this in mind, we are excited to introduce “Suggested Paths,” a new TeachRock site feature that helps guide educators directly to the specific content they need, quickly.
Our Upper Elementary Path, for instance, offers six lessons that work well for 4th to 6th grade classrooms. There are also Paths devoted to specific High School subject areas, including English Language Arts, Social Studies, and General Music.
Inspired by our core mission–using music to engage students–we developed a variety of collections that we hope speak directly to student interests. Budding rockers will love our Guitar History collection, which invites students to examine American history through the development of the electric guitar. The Music and Social Justice path offers a variety of lessons that inspire students to reflect on the relationship between music and social movements, from the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s to the recent #MeToo movement. We are especially excited about our What the Kids are Listening to collection, which offers a variety of mini-lessons drawn from the most popular music today. Through songs such as “Despacito” and artists like The Chainsmokers, The Black Eyed Peas, and Alessia Cara, students discover Latin American rhythms, reflect on issues of peer pressure and personal identity, and encounter Greek Mythology.
In the next few months, we will be developing more Suggested Paths, and we encourage you to share your ideas for paths with us as well.