SOS: Songwriting 101

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Songwriting 101

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SOS Big IdeaDid 
you know that the hit song “The Battle of New Orleans” was written by a high school principal to get his students more interested in history? Writing songs is a great way to hook students as they begin to learn about a concept, but having them write the songs is even better. Students can use public domain tunes, such as nursery rhymes or old standards, and plug in words to become scholars and rock stars!


SOS StepsMaterialsDiscovery Education content folder or Board that contains a collection of videos or audio recordings of songs or rhymes, video, audio or text resources related to unit of study

  1. Arrange the students in songwriting teams. If you are working with a topic that has multiple components (such as Biomes) consider assigning one component to each group and bringing them all together in the end.
  2. Have students use media to research their topics and jot down key ideas as they study.
  3. To give students structure for the song they are preparing to write, have students select a tune or rhyme from the collection you have provided.
  4. Provide time for teams to work together on the songs, writing stanzas that include the key ideas uncovered during the research phase.
  5. Have students perform their completed songs for the class.

SOS Sum It UpSong writing allows students to use creativity in reporting and sharing what they have learned.  The process of integration of content and songwriting requires a variety of higher-level thinking skills, such as inference, analysis and synthesis.


SOS More Ideas
  • Extend the musical experience by having students make music videos from their songs.
  • Record a class album and distribute the CDs or audio files to everyone in the class.

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