Grade: Middle
Subject: Special Ed

#3146. Draw Me the Music

Special Ed, level: Middle
Posted Tue Jun 1 13:47:49 PDT 2004 by Mechelle M. De Craene M.Ed. (
Westwood Middle School, Gainesville, Florida
Activity Time: 5 one-hour classes
Concepts Taught: Literature, reading, art

(I can send via attachment with pictures) : )

Mechelle M. De Craene M.Ed.

Lesson Plan
Draw Me the Music

Subject: Language Arts
Grade Levels: 6-8 ESE (general education grades 2-4)
Curriculum Focus: literature, reading, art
Duration: 5 one-hour classes

1. To acquaint students with jazz through careful reading and analysis of selected jazz musicians and their music.
2. To enrich students' understanding of African-Americans influences in the foundation and history of jazz music.
3. To reinforce learning though the arts by creating a visual representation of the music expressing their interpretations of the music.
4. To have students recognize how music and art can be integrated into literature studies.

Copies of literary texts read by all students (Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa and Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney;If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong by Roxane Orgill; and Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka; CD Player along with CD's from selected artist, construction paper, crayons, color pencils, erasers, (blind folds optional if you think your students may peek while listening to the music).

Like music, every good book has a cadence. That rhythm flows through the story like the beats and the be-bops that your students will hear throughout this lesson. This activity is designed to encourage students to see and hear the connections between music, art and literature.

For this class activity, begin by selecting one of the biographies to read. In addition, you could have the students clap or tap the cadence upon a re-reading of selected areas in the biographies. The following lines are a great example for this activity:

"Ever hear of Charlie Parker?
The great saxophone player?
If you have or haven't it's okay.
Look at this picture book
and you'll hear Charlie Parker;
you'll hear music in your mind.
Be bop. Fisk, fisk,
Lollipop, Boomba, boomba.
Bus stop. Zznnzznn.
Boppitty, bibbitty, bop. . ."

Next place a sheet of construction paper on each student's desk. Next tell each student to close his or her eyes. Then play a piece of music from the musician whose biography was just read. Have the student listen to the music for a while. Then ask the students to open their eyes and begin to draw to music. Do this activity for all four artists. Ask the students to write the artist name on the back of each drawing. One the fifth day, test your students jazz savvy knowledge. Play the music from each four musicians and have the students guess which musician is behind each musical piece. Next, gather all the previous student drawings and ask the class which artist/music they think each drawing represents. Look for commonalities (i.e. symbols, color choice, lines, flow, shapes) in the drawings that reflect the students' perceptions of the musicians. Discuss how music can be visual. Discuss the cadence of music and relate back to prosody in the readings.

After sharing the drawings and interpretations of the musicians and their music, students may be led to discuss what constitutes great music (e.g. the rhythms, the lyrics, etc.). Students can create a History of Jazz timeline. Open up student dialogue to cultural relevance of music. Other genres (e.g. country, classical) of music can be used for this assignment as well. Students could also use colorful Play Doh to create sculptures of the music. In addition, students can search the web for further research their favorite jazz musicians. The following are more biography children's books on jazz:

Hip Cat by Jonathan London, Woodleigh Hubbard (Illustrator)
John Coltrane's Giant Steps by Chris Raschka
Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney (Author)
The Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub, Karen Hanke (Illustrator)


Orgill, R. (1997). If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong, Houghton Mifflin Co; New York.

Pinkney, A. (2002). Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa, Hyperion Books, New York.

Pinkney, A. (1998). Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, Hyperion Books, New York.

Raschka, C. (1992). Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, Orchard Books, New York.