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Write a Rap Song Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-MUS0207
Submitted by: Bob Urbani
Email: burbani@peru.k12.in.us
School/University/Affiliation: Peru Junior High School

February 1, 2002

Grade Level: 5, 6, 7, 8


  • Arts/Music

Duration: 2-3 class sessions

Description: In this activity, students compose lyrics for a rap song.

Goals: National Standards of Music Education published by the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) :

  • (3) Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
  • (4) Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
  • (7) Evaluating music and music performances.
  • (8) Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
  • (9) Understanding music in relation to history and culture.


  • Students will be able to write a rap song that contains rhyming words.
  • Students will be able to associate rhythms and counting with words that are used in their song.
  • Materials:

    • paper
    • pencils/pens
    • The Drug Free Rap
    • The Drug Free Rap in .pdf format; requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

      Click the icon to obtain the free Reader.

    Raps are talk songs. They are not sung; they are spoken. They have a very heavy beat and a lot of rhyme. Behind the speaker of a rap there might be original music, scratching sounds, or even parts of other people’s songs. To write your own rap, begin with your topic. You have to know enough about your topic to rap about it.

    For this activity, students may work alone or with a partner. You will select one of the following topics to rap about: Our School, Our Team, The Field Trip, 7th Grade (or other grade as applicable), or Your Family. In your rap, you cannot say anything negative about the people or topic! Tell the story of your topic in a rhyme. Most raps rhyme in couplets, which means lines rhyme two at a time. Lines one and two rhyme with each other; but not with the other lines. Lines three and four rhyme with each other but not with other lines, and so on. The two lines that rhyme together are a couplet.

    Students should begin their lyrics with a line that has a strong beat or rhythm. Rhyme the next line with the first. Try to repeat the same rhythm in the second line, too. Then begin a new rhyme with the third line. The fourth line should rhyme with the third line. Keep repeating this rhyming pattern. The beat can be different in different lines. Some lines can be short, and some can be long. You may want to have a refrain in your lyrics. A refrain is a group of lines that remains the same and is repeated throughout the song. (Pass out a copy of The Drug Free Rap for students to look at as an example.)

    There can be NO double meaning words or grossness in the rap. You must say it to a beat with your partner. You can also put dance moves with it while you are saying it. You can use background music. Today we partner up (you can also solo by yourself) to write the rap. Tomorrow you will perform it and turn in your lyrics.

    A Rhyming Alphabet (list of sounds/blends to help students with rhyming):
    BL, BR, CH, DR, FL, FR, GL, GR, KL, KR, PR, SH, SHR, SL, ST, STR, TH, THR, TR Assessment: Teachers may want to assess students’ raps by using a rubric. ( Author’s Note: Rubrics are now being used in Indiana as assessment tools for interdisciplinary units and for all general classes. The state encourages us to use them for grading.) A sample music rubric is provided below. As an alternative, teachers can grade the rap on a point system (such as 25 points for the written assignment and 25 points for performing. Extra credit could be given if students use a background tape or if the rap is typed on computer or written neatly in pen.)

    Music Rubric :

    • Level 4 – The student exceeds assignment requirements. The assignment is done exceptionally neatly; there is evidence of originality and/or extra effort in the completion.
    • Level 3 – The assignment is completed, the work is done neatly, and the student followed all directions correctly.
    • Level 2 – Either the assignment is only partially completed, the work is not very neat, the student followed some but not all of the directions, or there is some combination of these factors.
    • Level 1 – The assignment is less than 50% complete, and/or the student did not follow the directions.

    Useful Internet Resource:
    * National Standards for Music Education – MENC
    http://www.menc.org/publication/books/standards.htm Special Comments: Students really love doing this in all my classes. They can really be creative.