The message of this lesson is that you aren’t failing at life if you are going through a difficult time. Life can be hard sometimes. There are places where it gets particularly tough – after someone you love has passed away or when you or a loved one are sick or injured, or if you are going through a big change in your family. These changes can be physical, hormonal, emotional, and especially painful during the adolescent years. Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson created a theory to help map these periods of transformation, which he divided into eight distinct stages of life. In categorizing human development into different life stages, he provided one theory about our collective experience as we grow as people. Of course, young people have incredibly different circumstances throughout this country as it relates to resources, privilege, and historical marginalization. However, despite our varying circumstances, we all move through this psychosocial development, and often at similar times. It is helpful for high school students to have an understanding that they are not alone in many of the challenges they are facing in their lives. Rather, they are negotiating this stage of development along with their peers.
· Raise awareness that difficult feelings can be situational but can also be part of a larger context: students’ natural developmental growth.
· Recognize the central role identity development plays during adolescence.
Prior to teaching this lesson, watch the guest artist video and create your own music playlist, draw your cover art, and make a title for your playlist.
Gather colored pencils, crayons or markers for the cover art as well as paper and pens if students choose not to do this digitally. If your students do choose to do this digitally, Canva.com offers many album design covers. If they are doing this digitally, make sure all students have a personal electronic device (i.e. laptop, tablet, Chromebook).
Display the ‘welcome slide’ from the Lesson 7 PowerPoint as you begin.
As discussed in the teacher training, remember to make the suggested language below authentic to yourself and meaningful for your students.
* Slide 2
Example of What You Could Say:
“This developmental transition between childhood and adulthood is pretty significant. This is when we are meant to test and set limits, to try out various roles, even to be more influenced by our peers. This is when we are searching to establish a new identity or strengthen one that we have recently discovered. This is the chance to begin to carve out an identity that feels authentic to you. And oftentimes as teenagers, music is part of this journey of self-discovery. We are going to watch a guest artist describe the way music helped him with this process of establishing his identity and deciding what felt authentic to him.”
The guest artist will describe the way music supported him when he was a teenager as he developed his identity and continues to support him as an adult. Guest artist will share that he has written his own music to better understand and express himself. He shares a song that reflects his identity. The guest artist could even share how when he was a teen how he remembers making mix tapes, etc.
“While I was listening to this guest artist, a few songs came to my mind that I think really reflect who I am, and I would like to share one of those songs with you now. (Play a section of one song that represents your identity and explain how that song represents you). Now you are going to create your own playlist too. You will choose three or four songs that best represent your identity. After, you will create ‘cover art’ for your playlist and give your playlist a title. For some people, reflecting on why you selected your songs can be done while drawing your cover art or creating a playlist title, but for other people, writing is an important part of the reflection process. If you would like to write why you chose a particular song and how that song represents you, please feel free to write one or two sentences about each song selection.
When selecting music, you might pick a song that illustrates your values, something you believe in, or a personal goal you feel passionately about. The song might even feel like a kind of “theme song” for who you hope to be.
You can list the songs in a word document or google doc – however you want to create it. Next, you will design the cover for your playlist. On the App Canva.com there are many album cover designs. Choose one of the options they provide and give your playlist a title by typing it into the App. Add your cover design to the word document or google doc where you list your songs. This activity should feel really individualized for who you are. In order to make this activity feel authentic for me, I actually made mine as a cassette ‘mix tape’, because that was my version of creating a playlist when I was a teenager. (Show students your work.)
If you do not want to create a digital playlist on a computer, you could write your playlist and title on paper and draw, by hand, the design for your playlist cover. I’ll circulate the room to help you with the technology or to answer any questions that come up as you are making the playlist!”
* Slides 4 and 5
Students spend approximately 20 minutes choosing the songs for their playlist and listing them along with their playlist title (and song descriptions if they would like to write why they selected each song). Students will also create cover art for their playlist.
Invite students to share the songs they chose for their playlists, and if there is time, to play an excerpt from one of their songs for the class.
Example of What You Could Say:
“I would love to hear what songs you chose for your playlists and why you chose those songs. Would anyone like to tell us what is on their playlist? And perhaps even share a small part of one song? Was it easy to come up with a playlist title that represents the songs you chose, and how was it to create your cover art as you reflected on how this music helps to express your identity?”
If you or your students would like to learn more about the ideas in this lesson, additional resources and third party links are included below.