Last week I posted “Teaching Compare and Contrast with Songs” This week, I’m continuing the series with “Teaching Sequencing with Songs.” I’ve listened to hundreds of songs. In the comment area below, I would love to hear your suggestions. Remember the songs must be classroom-friendly.
This handout contains all the song titles listed in this series of posts. It also has a series of printable organizers for students to use with the songs.
Sequencing using Historical Events
One genre to use in the classroom are songs that tell about an event in history. You can’t go wrong with sequencing events from special events from history. Here are some songs you might try:
“Ballad of the Alamo” by Marty Robbins
“Ballad of the Alamo” tells the story of around 180 Texans, including famous figures such as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, who held off a Mexican army of thousands for thirteen days in 1836.
“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
Shortly after the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975, Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian singer-songwriter, wrote this song to commemorate the sinking which took all 29 crew members with it. The song mourns the loss of the crew and the tragedy of the ship’s sinking.
“The Ballad of Casey Jones”
Casey Jones was an American railroader who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. “The Ballad of Casey Jones“ tells the story of how he was killed on April 30, 1900, when his train collided with a stalled freight train. The song was written in 1909, so it is now in the public domain.
Here are more sequencing with songs that teach about historical events you might try:
- “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” by Tennessee Ernie Ford
- “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton
- “Midnight Ride” by Paul Revere and the Raiders
- “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key (the story of the War of 1812)
- “Abraham, Martin, and John” by Dick Holler (This song connects the murders of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy.)
Sequencing using Biographies in Song
Several songwriters have written songs that tell about their personal lives. Here are a few.
“Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton
“Coat of Many Colors” tells the story of her childhood growing up in poverty in rural Tennessee. The children in school teased Dolly about her coat made from scraps of colorful fabric, but Dolly was proud of her coat because her mother made it with love and care.
More sequencing with songs to try:
- Coal Miner’s Daughter by Loretta Lynn
- Leader of the Band by Dan Fogelberg
Sequencing using Songs that Tell a Story
This genre has many, many songs. Below are some that are classroom appropriate that students will enjoy.
“Love Story” is a song by Taylor Swift
“Love Story” tells the story of a young couple who fall in love despite their families’ objections.
“All-American Girl” by Carrie Underwood
“All-American Girl” tells the story of a father who dreams of having a baby boy. The song describes the couple’s excitement and anticipation as they prepare for the arrival of their child. When a daughter is born, the father’s dreams change, and he grows to love his little girl.
“Billy Don’t Be a Hero” by Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
“Billy Don’t Be a Hero” tells the story of a young man named Billy who decides to enlist in the army during the Civil War.
More sequencing with songs to try:
- Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood (2005)
- Just a Dream by Carrie Underwood (2007)
- Mary’s Song (Oh My My My) by Taylor Swift
- Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin (1974)
- Three Wooden Crosses by Randy Travis (2002)
- Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers (1964)
- Boulevard of Broken Dream by Green Day (2004)
- In the Ghetto by Elvis Presley (1969)
- The Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers (1979)
- Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphey (1975)
- Phantom 309 by Red Sovine (1967)Operator by Jim Croce (1972)
- Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys (1964)
- Ol’ Red by Blake Shelton (2001)
- Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks (1990)
- Baby Girl by Sugarland (2004)
- The Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-Las (1965)
- The Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry (1967)
- He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones (1980)
- Honey by Bobby Goldsboro
- A Day in the Life by The Beatles (1967)
- Rocky Mountain High by John Denver (1975)