CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Singin' the Blues

Social Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To communicate emotion through song
Students write the music and lyrics for a blues song based on emotions instilled by experiencing drought.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Acquire and play for students a few selections of blues songs. Ask them to identify some of the characteristics of the blues. List their responses for reference.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the clips titled "The dirty '30s", "Dustbowl horrors", "It takes something out of you", "Thunder Bay suffers" and "Urban impact" on Devastating Dry Spells: Drought on the Prairies on the CBC Digital Archives website, where they can get a sense of the emotions that a drought can instill. Then have students work individually or in pairs to write and compose a blues song based on the ideas and feelings expressed in the clips.

Revisit and Reflect

Students can either tape their song and play it for the class, or perform it live. Have the class use the lists of blues songs characteristics to determine the "best" blues songs in the class.


Compile students' songs onto a CD or DVD for distribution within the class. Students can create cover art for their compilation.

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