8th Grade ELA : Unit #3 - Coming of Age : Lesson #3

Day Two: The Maturing of America with Lyric Analysis

Objective: SWBAT evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to present ideas about how America has matured over time; determine the meaning of figurative language in lyrics to analyze its impact on meaning and tone.
Standards: RI.8.4 RI.8.7
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Lesson Introduction - 0 minutes

Have you ever wondered why the Star-Spangled Banner is still sung in many athletic arenas today? Is is true that this is our national anthem but what isn't quite known is why this song didn't serve as our first nation's anthem. Just as people change so does music. While it is difficult for individuals to leave memories behind, students will begin to study events surrounding the American Revolutionary War to see how past memories continued to progress our nation no matter whether the freedom won was told through lyrics or literature. 

2 Warm-Up: Listing Evidence from a National Tune - 5 minutes

To hook students into today's lesson, I hold a small discussion on how our national anthem is perfect for describing the maturity of our nation. As I ask students to recall the words to this tune, a listing of points is made and placed on the board. As students move through this lesson, they uncover other essential elements within lyrics that show how our anthem is still perfect for our nation today. 

3 Listening to a Tune - 7 minutes

To begin revisiting our nation's past, students watch this video clip. The purpose of incorporating sound is to provide an auditory reminder of our anthem prior to students analyzing its lyrics for further interpretation. Since music is the initial interaction students will have with this lesson, why not have them recall their understanding through a song.


The selection of music for this particular lesson works to give flare to a concept that is initially boring to students. In order to develop arguments (claims) for how the "Star Spangled Banner" is the perfect national anthem, students will use literature and music to interpret how the United States has matured over the past centuries.   

4 Independent Practice: It's All in the Lyrics! - 35 minutes

Now that we remember our national anthem, its time to bring other perspectives into account. It is amazing how songs can really depict the maturing of an individual or event in an intentional and unintentional way. In Day One: How America has Matured through Citing Evidences in Music, students listened to various songs about America and identified an intended audience based on the instrumentation and vocals of each song. Today, students will read over each song's lyrics and underline examples of figurative language.

To become effective interpreters, students get in groups of four to work collectively on the assigned task. I model in the first song how to read, underline, and interpret examples of figurative language. Then students will work on lyricstalk over lyrics, and work as a group on lyrics to understand the impact figurative played in each song.

Figurative Language Activity Reflection
Student Ownership

Designing this two day lesson supported the need for students to understand how to interpret different mediums of text to present arguments and claims about a particular topic. Having an argument is something that students do well. However, using sound arguments in writing can be of a challenge to even the most enthusiastic defender. 

While more instructional time was used on this two part lesson, I am pleased with the learning processes and discussions that students had on using varying mediums to understand a topic in history. Using a third class period allowed students to be successful with developing claims and evidence in their compare and contrast essays that was done as an extension activity for this lesson. Because of its first premiere this school year, I wanted students to do enough analysis of each song to cite effectively evidences that supports or counteracts their thesis statements in their essays.

The student reflection video describes the impact this lesson had on the maturing of the United States. I love showing students how mediums other than literature (stories) can teach skills and depths of knowledge on particular subjects.