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Rockin' the Schools: 1-4 "Tell Me Something Good": Music & the Language Arts



"Tell Me Something Good": Music & the Language Arts

Suggested Grade Level: 1-4

This research guide serves as a resource for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Education Department course, "Tell Me Something Good": Music & the Language Arts. For additional information on the course and for more teacher resources, see

Many songs tell stories, describing characters and their adventures in particular places at particular times.  This class looks at some of the great stories of rock and roll and examines how lyrics can establish a setting, introduce characters, and develop a plot.  Through exciting recorded performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees like Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, and Chuck Berry, and the Police, students learn how narrative can be developed.  They will act out undersea adventures on a “Yellow Submarine” and imagine what it would be like to be “Johnny B. Goode” by drawing what they hear and read in the lyrics, all while learning to summarize and retell the stories told through rock and roll.

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These research databases can be accessed within the Library and Archives.

For Your Students

Online Resources


These resources, pulled from class discussion and selected from the Library and Archives' collections, will help you to:

  • Respond to stories told in songs by summarizing main ideas, noting significant details, and supporting interpretations with references to text (both lyrically and musically).
  • Identify narrative elements (characters, setting, point of view) and retell the plot sequence.
  • Explain how an author’s choice of words expresses ideas, appeals to the senses, and suggests mood.




Archival Resources

New to Archives? Check out:

Below are descriptions of a few archival collections containing artist lyrics. Other collections can be found by following this link.

Rock Hall Video: In the Museum

Chuck Berry

YouTube Videos

Aretha Franklin, "Respect" (1990)

The Police, "Message in a Bottle"

The T.A.M.I. Show: Chuck Berry - "Johnny B. Goode"

Beatles, "Yellow Submarine"
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