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Write a Song for Graduation

Students will analyze the song "Pomp and Circumstance." Then they will brainstorm ideas and write a new song that could be played at a graduation ceremony.

PROCESS:

  1. Play a recording of the song "Pomp and Circumstance" for the class to hear. Have students scan the article and make a list of reasons why people think this is an appropriate song to play at a graduation ceremony. Encourage students to add reasons of their own.
  2. Review the list. Guide students to recognize that while the song's melody creates an emotional tone appropriate for a graduation ceremony, its historical background is important, too.
  3. Instruct students to think about what graduation means to them. Is it a time to be formal and serious? Or is it a time to be happy and upbeat about the next step in their lives? Give students five minutes to compose a list of words and phrases that reflect their views about graduation.
  4. Encourage students to use the ideas they recorded to write a new song that could be played at graduation.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their songs with the class. Challenge them to explain the meaning behind their songs.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Analyze the song "Pomp and Circumstance" as a class. Have each student create a list of words or phrases related to graduation and share the list with the class. Analyze the results and select the most common ideas. Work together to write a new song to play at a graduation.
Grades 5-6:
Analyze the song "Pomp and Circumstance" as a class. Then divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to create a list of words and phrases related to graduation and challenge them to incorporate those ideas into the lyrics for a new song to play at a graduation. Have groups apply the lyrics to the tune of a song they already know.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to analyze the song "Pomp and Circumstance." Then have groups compile a list of words and phrases related to graduation and challenge them to incorporate those ideas into a new song for a graduation ceremony. Groups may write their own music or apply the lyrics to the tune of a song they already know.
Grades 9-10:
Have students complete the entire activity in pairs. Challenge partners to write both the lyrics and the music for a new song to be played at a graduation ceremony.