Graphic Organizers: Listening with a purpose

Even with printed lyrics as a guide, listening to music from an unfamil-iar time or culture can be challenging for students. Graphic organizers have been helpful in many disciplines to assist students in arranging their thoughts into ideas. These graphic organizers can help students use visual learning to supple-ment their auditory learning.We recommend letting students just listen to songs first, perhaps following along with the lyrics. Then, before or during discussion, listen again with the graphic organizer’s help.Just a few formats can cover many types of songs:


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Song Comparison

“Song Comparison” is a comparison tree with differences listed on the outside columns and similarities listed in the inside column. It can be used to compare two verses within a song (though “Finding Patterns,” below, may be more appropriate for this purpose), but is especially help-ful when comparing two songs. Even songs that are very different, from very different eras and styles, can be compared easily using this format.


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Plotting the Story

“Plotting the Story” is a narrative timeline that leads students step by step through a story. Use it to follow a plot through multiple verses.





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Finding Patterns

“Finding Patterns” is a grid for tracking repetition and variations between verses or lines. Rhyming schemes, language patterns, musical patterns, and any other patterns can be tracked more easily in this table format.

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