Bringing ‘Change Sings’ to Life: Incorporating Social Justice into Your Elementary Music Lesson

Amanda Gorman’s book “Change Sings” is a powerful and inspiring collection of poems that explore themes of social justice, identity, and resilience. As an elementary music teacher, you may be looking for ways to incorporate the book into your lesson plans. (And if you’re out for a day – you can even start build off of these ideas with sub plans based on the book!) Here are a few ideas to get you started with your Change Sings lesson plans:

Introduce music concepts through poetry

Gorman’s poetry is filled with musical elements such as rhyme, meter, and repetition. Use these elements to teach your students about the basics of poetry and how it can be used to convey emotion and meaning. (Optional: add instruments!)

Explore the role of music in social change

Even young students understand the difference between right and wrong. We Shall Overcome is an easily accessible example of music as a way of coming together behind a cause. I talk about this in depth in my blog posts Teaching Protest Music in Upper Elementary and Teaching About MLK Jr. in Elementary Music

Create a playlist inspired by the book.

Encourage your students to create a playlist of songs that reflect the themes and messages of “Change Sings.” This activity can help them connect with the book on a deeper level and think about how music can be used to express emotions and ideas.

Integrate writing into music lessons

Use music as a way to inspire and motivate your students to write their own poetry. For example, you could play a song and ask your students to write a poem that reflects the mood and message of the song. Or you could even have students write their own poems and compose music to accompany the poems.

Worried about being out for a day during the unit? These print and go Change Sings sub plans take care of all the work putting sub materials together, plus students get to engage more in the topic while you’re out. Upper grades can start composing their own protest songs too!

Incorporating music into your lesson plan can help your students connect with “Change Sings” in a meaningful and engaging way. By using music to explore themes of social justice, identity, and resilience, you can help your students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the many ways that music impacts our lives..

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