Since I have received a job offer to teach in an English classroom, my mind has been constantly dreaming up fun and engaging activities for my future students. I remember back to my college days when a girl in class described a lesson in which students had to develop a soundtrack to the story of their lives. I cannot remember how she connected it to the material or what educational value it had, but I feel it was a worthwhile activity (with some tweaking). Everyone has some type of connection to music. I don’t think I have ever met one person who didn’t like it, actually. Who doesn’t like music? That’s almost like saying you don’t like air or breathing….
Anyway, I’ve dreamed up possibilities for this future lesson plan so that it would be educationally relevant. After reading a novel, students would be asked to create a soundtrack to demonstrate their knowledge of significant events throughout the story. They would be required to explain the rationale behind their choices and provide textual support. I think that this activity would demonstrate students’ comprehension, but it would also require them to think critically and analyze the text. In addition, it would give them an opportunity to dig around in the text, find relevant material, and practice using direct quotes to prove their claims.
The other option with this activity is to use it as it was originally created by my classmate. Students would be asked to create a soundtrack of their own lives. Educationally speaking, it would be used as an informal check in demonstrating students’ understanding of plot structure. They could create a plot map to coincide with their soundtracks. This activity could be useful in getting to know my students and to create a sense of belonging and community, as well. Keeping their materials “school appropriate” would be a must, however. Tricky, tricky.
Above all, I think there may be some fun to the idea. I am going to give it a shot. We’ll call it a first draft.
I often picture music playing like a soundtrack through all of my menial daily activities, through the ups and downs of life— through everything, really. I figure, at this point in life, I couldn’t possibly know what kind of movie my life would be like, but I’m pretty sure I can speculate it’s either a romantic comedy or a drama. We’ll assume it’s a romantic comedy…. no need to get too serious today. So, that’s what I’m going to share with you: the soundtrack to the movie of my life.
Disclaimer: I cannot embed music videos (as I was planning) unless I purchase an upgrade. Not today, folks. Sorry. All pictures link back to their original sources.
Disclaimer 2: Some of the following events are pure fiction, added solely for entertainment value. If I made a soundtrack for my real life scenarios, I feel it may bore you to tears. Thanks for indulging me.
Here we go:
- When you first see me, driving during the opening credits: American Woman (The Guess Who) or Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas)
- The windows are rolled down, hair is blowing, music is blaring, and I’m just singing, “Don’t come hanging around my door, I don’t want to see your face no more….”
- When there’s a getting ready in front of the mirror montage: Escapade (Miss Janet)
- When my parents leave me home alone and I dance around in my skivvies: Old Time Rock and Roll (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band)
- “Just take those old records off the shelf, I’ll sit and listen to them by myself….”
- When there’s a high school flash back scene: Wonderwall (Oasis) or Radio (Alkaline Trio)
- When my friends and I are cruising around looking for some guys: No Scrubs (TLC)
- “A scrub is a guy who thinks he’s fine, he’s also known as a busta….”
- When I’m feeling blue or down and out: Yesterday (The Beatles) or Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)
- “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away, now I need a place to hide away….”
- When I’m walking into a troublesome situation: Superstition(Stevie Wonder)
- “When you believe in things you don’t understand then you suffer….”
- When I’m feeling overcome with angst: Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana) or Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)
- “I found it hard, it’s hard to find. Oh well, whatever, never mind….”
- When I walk into the club and/or party: In Da Club (50 Cent) or YEAH! (Usher, Lil Jon, Ludacris)
- When I sing drunken karaoke: Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
- “Mama, life had just begun, but now I’ve gone and thrown it all away….”
- When I enter a mean spirited place: Welcome to the Jungle (Guns and Roses)
- “We are the people that can find whatever you may need. If you got the money honey we got your disease….”
- When I’m headed to a dark and dangerous point of no return: House of the Rising Sun (The Animals)
- When I pull a “Jenny” from Forrest Gump and almost jump from a balcony: Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
- “Bye-bye, baby it’s been a sweet love, though this feeling I can’t change….”
- When I’m mistakenly locked up in prison: Jailhouse Rock (Elvis Presley) *which will be a full-on musical number*
- “Everybody in the whole cell block was dancing to the Jailhouse Rock….”
- When I realize I need to make some changes and montage ensues while I find my way: Don’t Stop Believing (Journey)
- “Some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues….”
- When I’m out for some cold revenge: Ready or Not (The Fugees)
- When I meet a sinister character who happens to be a guy named Joe: Hey, Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
- “Hey Joe, I said, ‘Where you gonna run to now, where you gonna go?’”
- When I’m on a personal quest or great mission: Lose Yourself (Eminem)
- “The moment you own it, you better never let it go….”
- When I get physically lost: Hotel California (The Eagles) or Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
- “And I was thinking to myself, ‘This could be Heaven or this could be Hell….’”
- When I’m being tested : Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers)
- “Hey, baby! There ain’t no easy way out….”
- When I’m defeated: Loser (Beck) or Nice Guys Finish Last (Green Day)
- When I’m victorious: It Was a Good Day(Ice Cube)
- “Today I didn’t even have to use my AK. I gotta say it was a good day….”
- When I finally spot the man of my dreams: Baby (Brandy) or Rescue Me (Fontella Bass)
- “C’mon and take my heart, take your love and conquer every part….”
- When the man of my dreams spots me: Hey, Baby (Bruce Channel) or Cupid (Sam Cooke)
- “Cupid, draw back your bow and let your arrow flow straight to my lover’s heart….”
- When we first kiss: Then He kissed Me (The Crystals)
- “So, I whispered I love you. He said that he loved me too and then he kissed me….”
- When we get in a big fight and I’m super angry: Someday (Mariah Carey) or Ex-Factor (Lauryn Hill) or Love Her Madly (The Doors)
- When we proclaim our love for one another: Natural Woman (Aretha Franklin) or Happy Together (The Turtles) or Unchained Melody (The Righteous Brothers) or In the Still of the Night (The Five Satins)
- “I can’t see me loving nobody but you for all my life….”
- When he proposes: Something (The Beatles)
- When we get in a big fight and everyone thinks it’s over: We Belong Together (Mariah Carey) or I’m Going Down (Mary J. Blige)
- “Who is gonna take your place, there ain’t nobody else, oh baby, we belong together….”
- When we make up: Let’s Stay Together (Al Green)
- “Let me be the one you come running to. I’ll never be untrue….”
- When we get married: At Last (Etta James)
Well, that was fun. Thanks for playing along. I knew it would be all over the place, but I don’t think I’d have it any other way. I’d could have went on and on adding my favorite songs, but we’d be here for hours.
Did I miss anything? Any recommendations for future soundtracks? What would your soundtrack be like?
Create your own mini soundtrack at Billboard.com!