Overview: Immigration and travel patterns are explored through music.

Today’s lesson is so relevant for our times!  We teach the most diverse classrooms America has ever seen.  In this lesson, we look at immigration, the travel patterns of people, and what elements of culture are carried to each new place.  Music is a perfect art source for integration and this lesson incorporates Poulenc’s “Babar” to help describe how culture is always changing.  This is great for the elementary grades, though it can be adjusted to be used in middle school by choosing a different story.  This also allows for an opportunity to get to know more about your students – valuing where we all come from is essential in building a trusting and collaborative classroom for learning.



Step 1: Read the book “The Story of Babar” and discuss the various travels of Babar the elephant. Map these travels on the board or using a SmartBoard.

Step 2: Have a class discussion about where students’ families came from. Students can gather information from home about where their families immigrated from.

Step 3: Listen to the piece “Babar” by Poulenc. Poulenc was affected in his travels by music from all areas of Europe. Have students describe how the music changes with each place Babar visits.

Step 4: After listening, place a large shoebox that has been decorated like a treasure box in the center of the room. Have students write down 2-3 genres of music (rap, classical, pop, etc) or songs that they would bring with them in their treasure trunk on a journey to another country.

Step 5: Scan through the musical suggestions and find several pieces that fit in these genres to listen to for the next class. Have students listen for similarities and differences in each type of music.

Step 6: Design a map of where the class would like to travel and what music they would play at each place. Then, have them decide what things or music they would bring back with them. Place these ideas into their treasure trunk.

Step 7: Review the items in the trunk and discuss how people bring new ideas and items with them as they travel the world.