CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Alberta Sings

English Language Arts
1 to 2 lessons
To respond to information through poetry and songwriting.
Students will examine the life of an Alberta musician and write a poem or song inspired by that person.

Lesson Plan

Before exploring

Ask students to identify the names and works of singers, songwriters, and other musicians from Alberta.

Play two or three pieces of music by Alberta musicians (k.d. lang, Jann Arden, Ian Tyson, Paul Brandt), preferably of different genres. Ask students to name the artist. Encourage students to bring other pieces to play for the class.

Outline the Opportunity

Have students work in pairs to view the clips titled "k.d. lang and her eclectic blend of cowboy punk", "From pediatric nurse to country musician", "A true son of the west", and "Laughing and crying with singer Jann Arden" in the topic Alberta @ 100 on the CBC Digital Archives website.

Ask each pair of students to focus on any one of the four, review the clip and the additional material, and note the important ideas imparted by that artist. Students then use that artist's story as inspiration to write a poem or song.

Revisit and reflect

Invite pairs to share their poems and songs with the class. Encourage discussion from the class, having people explain what they think the words mean or the impact of the story they tell. Gather poems and songs in a class book or audio recording.


Collect and categorize poems and songs according to the singer/songwriter who inspired them. Students can develop a class display to highlight the inspirations for their work.

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