Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, Music Genres (L3U1L5), Ben and Moby discuss different musical genres in an attempt to choose which music to buy and download to Ben’s new digital music player. In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-8, students participate in listening, speaking, and writing activities about different music genres as they review the passive voice in all tenses.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Classify passive sentences on a chart, according to their tenses. (Language Objective)
  2. Sequence the events in the movie. (Language Objective)
  3. Categorize musicians and music by their genres. (Content Objective)
  4. Prepare a presentation about a music genre. (Content Objective)



Academic Vocabulary:
Passive voice, active voice, present simple, past simple, present progressive, past progressive, future, modal
genre, jazz, classical, orchestra, symphony, sonata, concert, compose/composer


For Activity 1, Classify the Passives, prepare a Passives Table with the following column headers:
Present Simple, Past Simple, Present Progressive, Future, and Modal, and the Passive Sentence Strips in any way that works for your class. Some options include:
- Make a set of the Passive Sentence Strips for each pair of students. Pairs sort the sentences according to the tenses on the Passives Table.
- Prepare a blank Passives Table and the Passive Sentence Strips to be used on an interactive white board. Create each sentence as an individual object for students to manipulate on the blank table.
- Prepare the Passive Sentence Strips on index cards to stick onto a blank table on the board.

Passive Sentence Strips

Present Simple:

This music is called jazz.
Jazz is listened to by people everywhere.
Digital songs are sold on web sites.
Your help is needed.
He is thought to be one of the world’s greatest composers.
Classical musicians are admired all around the world.
What is this piece of music called?
Symphonies are played by a whole orchestra.

Past Simple:
Jazz was first played in the US.
It was given to me by my cousin Larry.
It was composed in the 19th century.
Classical music is meant to make you feel relaxed.
These songs were recorded by musicians.
Many pieces of music were composed by Beethoven.

Present Progressive:
These songs are being downloaded now.
Beethoven’s music is being played now.
What is being downloaded to my computer?

They will be uploaded onto my music player.
That music will never be put on my music player!
A concert will be given by our band.
The music will be recorded.

Jazz can be heard in many countries.
Music can be bought on the Internet.
Good songs can be found on this web site.
Classical music should be put on my music player.
This music can’t be danced to.
The Poppers must not be forgotten.
Those songs can’t be danced to.
It might be put on my music player.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Classify the Passives. Before a repeat viewing of the movie Music Genres (L3U1L5), prepare the Passives Table and the Passive Sentence Strips (see Preparation). Students can complete the table either during or after the movie.
    On a repeated viewing of the movie, partners can sequence the sentence strips according to the movie.
    As an extension to this activity, encourage students to discuss what the movie says about music genres. Using the Passive Sentence Strips as a reference point, students discuss their opinions and responses to the statements the movie makes about classical music and jazz. Encourage the use of the passive voice. For example, I don’t agree that Classical music is meant to make people feel relaxed. Some classical music is very exciting.
  2. Hear It, Say It. Students listen, and record their voices for each clip. After students finish recording for each clip, have students call out which tense the sentences are in. They can use the Passives Table for reference.
  3. Tell Me About It. Ask students to say a sentence in the passive voice in any tense about one of the following topics. This can be done in a roundrobin exercise, as students take turns adding a sentence. When they can’t think of a new sentence, the next student starts a new topic.
    Suggested topics: Jazz, classical music, digital music, a favorite musician, a favorite singer, a favorite song, a concert, music genres, a musical instrument, the Moonlight Sonata, or Beethoven.
  4. Music Genre Game. Assign a music genre to each small group of students. Instruct them to look up examples of musicians, singers, or composers from that genre, and the titles of their songs or pieces of music, and write each one on an index card. For example: Beethoven: the 5th Symphony. Collect all the cards and shuffle them. Create a game on the board by writing all of the genres in sections across the top. Then have students randomly select a card (or pass them out), and tape the cards into the correct genres (columns) on the board. As they place their cards, they must give a sentence in the passive voice. For example: The 5th Symphony was composed by Beethoven. Possible music genres include: classical, jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, country, Latin, Brasilian, pop, rock, rap, hip hop, electronic, house, disco, k-pop, folk, reggae, opera.
  5. My Kind of Music. Have students choose any music genre they want and prepare a short presentation or report about it for the class. It can be a type of music they like, or one they want to learn more about. BrainPOP is a good source for movies about different music genres. Students should write at least one paragraph, and include an explanation of the genre, and some examples of artists and songs or musical pieces. Tell students to write at least one sentence in the passive voice. They can include illustrations and play an example of the music when they make their presentations.