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Author: Karen Brinkley


Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School

Year: 2023

Seminar: Music and Healing in Philadelphia

Grade Level: 7-8

Keywords: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Music, Philadelphia International Records

School Subject(s): Arts, English Language Arts, Music, Social Studies

Can you remember the lyrics of your favorite song from one year, five years, or ten years ago? Many of us would answer with a resounding “Yes!” Clearly, music is an underutilized vehicle to increase student engagement, memory, and learning. The student music interest survey included in this curriculum unit confirms two things: students love music, and they listen to relish music’s therapeutic benefits. Consequently, it is my opinion that schools should proceed urgently to include music for emotional support programs to address the toxic stress and trauma that many students experience regularly. Listening to music and learning about local music legends enhances student well-being. Another important aspect is the opportunity to expose students to the legacy of Philadelphia International Records, founded by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Students’ examination of Gamble and Huff will foster pride in a repertory of music from Philly that focuses on social justice and emotional well-being—see the quote below. I believe the curriculum unit will provide joy, love, and healing, which the world desperately needs!

Download Unit: Brinkley-K-Unit.pdf

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Full Unit Text
Unit Content


“A great song has to make you feel a certain way. Songs can make you happy and sad, they can help you fall in love. They have to do something. That’s when you get a reaction”    –(The Hit Formula, 2014)


Too many of our youth are experiencing a significant amount of trauma, stress, food insecurity, mental illness, and violence, just to name a few of the overwhelming life dilemmas’. According to the data collected by, the following statistics were reported:

  • “Seven out of ten teens in the U.S. (between 13 and 17 years old) have named anxiety or depression as a major problem among their peers in the community.
  • 75% of U.S. high school students expressed boredom, anger, sadness, fear, or stress while in school.
  • On a 10-point scale, where normal values for adults are 3.8, American teens rated their stress rate at an average score of 5.8.
  • In other academic pressure statistics, it was found out that three-quarters (75%) of American high schoolers and half of the middle schoolers described themselves as “often or always feeling stressed” by schoolwork.” (Bouchrika, 2023).

How do we help them to heal? The negative actions of some youth today are a cry for the elders in the community to provide viable solutions. Consequently, I was inspired by the song entitled “The Suffers-How Do We Heal?” and the video to develop curriculum to address student social-emotional well-being.

The statistics suggest our students are struggling, and I am suggesting strategic use of music in our classroom might bring change. This is supported by the research validating the interest and importance of studying how music positively impacts the brain and student well-being.  The U.S. Department of National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) reported critical statistics regarding the musical influence for teens. “U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school students found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show “significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12” (U.S. Department of Education NELLS88 Database).” (Bryant, 2014).

National Arts Education Status Report 2019 (Yamaha Staff, 2022).

The above charts are from “The Arts Education Data Project is a joint project between State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE)-whose members are on staff at each of the state department of education in the United States – and its longtime partner Quadrant Research-the pioneer of state-level arts education data reporting. The data in this report was provided by individual schools to state departments of education.” The state of Pennsylvania is not included in the above data for reasons that are not clear.

So, I revisit the question: How do we help them to heal? A solution can be found in utilizing the various topics of music, such as music education, music therapy, music combined with art integration, etc. It is imperative schools take advantage of an opportunity to help students navigate a demanding fast pace world by incorporating music in student learning. The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) is trending in the right direction, evident by the 2022 recognition awarded by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM).

(School District of Philadelphia, 2022).

I acknowledge that while music education is strong in SDP, I do wonder, to what extent curriculum resources deal with pressing issues pertaining to music cognition and music for individual and collective well-being? I argue here that the SDP can expand its efforts to include music that students love and listen to. I agree that the more narrowly defined content of music education is essential. Still, providing all teachers, regardless of their teaching content area, get consistent access to curricula and resources that connect to our students’ emotional well-being. This will have a profound long-term positive effect.  The SDP should encourage and support this level of instruction even in the science classroom.

The Suffers – “How Do We Heal” ft. Son Little and Bryce The Third (Official Lyric Video)

A band from Houston, Texas with a focus on love and healing.

“Our hope is that our fans walk away feeling empowered, resilient, and inspired to live a better life.”

—Kam Franklin, (The Suffers, 2023)


Cook-Wissahickon (CW) Elementary School, located in Roxborough, was built in 1968. There are approximately 428 students enrolled, and 71% of students reside in the catchment. Enrollment by race/ethnicity student group is as follows: White 42%, Black/African American 34%, Multiracial 12%, Hispanic 10%, and Asian 2%. CW is an urban public school that features a small learning environment with an instrumental music program, specialist music classes, and visual art classes. Our students are accustomed to collaborative projects and celebrating the culture of the various ethnic groups. Due to its diverse student demographics, CW has an opportunity to cultivate teachers and students to become responsible, conscientious stewards of the multicultural world we live in today.


The O’Jays “I Love Music” Video

The brain is a powerful organ that teachers can access through a range of instructional strategies daily. For example, I unexpectedly tapped into students’ interest in May 2023, when the school year was almost over. Students were cognitively fatigued and beginning to check out! However, when I informed students I wanted their anonymous opinions about music, their interest peaked immediately. I observed often low energy students excitedly completing the music interest survey. The 10-question poll generated (see Appendix B) for the complete survey results. I selected three of the ten questions to share a sample of student responses. The complete survey can be found in the curriculum unit Appendix B.

Question Total Student Responses Type of Music
What is your favorite music genre? 91 56% (51) Rap/Hip Hop

20% (18) Other

11% (10) R&B

7% (6) Rock/Metal

7% (6) Country/Pop

How often do you listen to music? 92 82% (75) daily

11% (10) two-three times per week

5% (5) once a week

2% (2) never

Why do you listen to music? 91 38% (35) enjoyment

23% (21) makes me happy

20% (18) helps me to think and concentrate

19% (17) calming/relaxing

What does this data tell us about 2023 CW middle school students? CW students have a range of musical tastes, with most of them selecting rap/hip hop as their favorite. Surprisingly 20% of students have identified “other” as a musical genre. It is necessary for the unit to explore the “other” to ensure an inclusive learning experience. Overwhelmingly, students are avid music listeners. I expected high numbers in active listening because we regularly observe students with earbuds, headphones, and YouTube videos playing.

The data proves that students clearly know their purpose for listening to music. The inclusion of positive options for the question: Why do you listen to music? was intentional. I was more interested in which positive choice would garner the highest responses. The percentages were very close, which indicates that if presented to select more than one choice, some students may have selected “all of the above.” Another interesting finding from the survey not reported in the above chart is the variety of music artists students “can’t live without.” A few examples are Melanie Martinez, Lil Baby, Drake/Lucki, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, etc.

Although music tastes evolve, I can infer, based on the research and my personal experience, that many students will continue to have a life-long attachment to the music they loved as teens. “Many people have pondered the fact that music you discovered and listened to in your teens sounds better to you than any music you have heard since. Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate in 2014, aptly captured this phenomenon, explaining that music—especially music we like—stimulates a release of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. And in fact, the more we like a song, the more these “feel good” neurochemicals are release. And in young people, this process gets amped up to the next level:

Between the ages of 12 and 22, our brains undergo rapid neurological development—and the music we love during that decade seems to get wired into our lobes for good. When we make neural connections to a song, we also create a strong memory trace that becomes laden with heightened emotion, thanks partly to a surfeit of pubertal growth hormones. These hormones tell our brains that everything is incredibly important–especially the songs that form the soundtrack to our teenage dreams… (MusicAdmin, 2021).

The following charts provide a detailed explanation of the brain and music connection.

The final takeaways from the CW student music interest survey and the brain charts are that teachers should be encouraged to identify access points for student engagement. A curriculum unit that has a music focus is an ideal strategy to build connections, activate learning for all students connect to their lives, and support new initiatives for social emotional learning in the SDP. CW student voices were screaming loudly; we LOVE music!


MFSB-T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia) ft. The Three Degrees

MFSB: Love is the Message

“Why do we love music?” Dr. Robert Zatoore, a neuroscientist, suggests a response to the question about loving music. “On its face, there is no apparent reason why a sequence or pattern of sounds that have no specific propositional meaning should elicit any kind of pleasurable response. Yet music is widely considered amongst our greatest joys. Where does this phenomenon come from? There are several approaches to this question. A musicologist might have a very different answer than a social scientist. Since I’m a neuroscientist, I would like to address it from that perspective—recognizing that other perspectives may also offer valuable insights.” (Zatoore, 2018). Instead of focusing on the research, I concentrated on my primary source, Philadelphia middle school students. The evidence from an anonymous music survey proved that 2023 students actively listened to and enjoyed various music genres!

The curriculum unit is intended for seventh and eighth-grade students and should take approximately six-eight weeks to complete. Students will engage in various differentiated instructional activities, with collaboration integral to student learning. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is also addressed throughout the unit to build students’ self-esteem. In addition, through dialogue and reflection, students will be encouraged to ponder music’s healing benefits. Through the reflective lesson activities, students will contemplate how traumatic experiences impacts their playlist choices.

The unit will provide extensive background information about the Sound of Philadelphia, the iconic Philadelphia International Records founded by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. I want students to become experts in the impact of Philadelphia musical history on the world. The unit focuses on Gamble and Huff’s musical contributions and connection to current music. Consistently, students have expressed a desire to analyze life from a perspective other than agony. Students are looking for joy, love, and pleasure; music listening is one way to achieve those goals. The first goal is to elevate student music consciousness. Learning about Philadelphia’s rich black music history is the second goal.

Kenny Gamble 

Kenny Gamble was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 11, 1943. Gamble grew up in South Philadelphia and 1961, graduated from West Philadelphia High School. According to Gamble, “I grew up at 15th and Christian. I wasn’t raised in a musical house. I was self-taught. Didn’t have any kind of training at all.” (Fiorillo, 2021).

In the 1950s, Gamble and Huff met in a vocal group called “The Romeos.” They eventually formed a partnership. Initially, Gamble was a performer and became a successful songwriter and music producer in the 1970s.

TIMELINE (Washington, 2017)

  • 1943 Born, Philadelphia
  • 1961 Graduates West Philadelphia High School
  • 1963 Meets Leon Huff, begins 50-year songwriting partnership
  • 1971 Co-founds Philadelphia International Records
  • 1977 Buys his boyhood home and begins renovating properties.
  • 1990 Moves back to South Philadelphia
  • 1999 Receives Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 1999 Opens Universal Institute Charter School
  • 2001 Inducted in the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame
  • 2008 Inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Leon Huff

Leon Huff was born in Camden, New Jersey, on April 8, 1942. Huff grew up in Camden and, in 1960, graduated from Camden High School. “Huff was first exposed to music through his mother, who played the piano and the organ for the 19th Street Baptist Church choir. Huff began playing the piano at the age of five; he received basic lessons from his mother as well as formal teaching through the school system and private lessons. As a teenager, Huff participated in several “doo-wop” music groups throughout Camden. One of his groups, “The Dynaflows,” auditioned for the popular television show, Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.” (The History Makers, 2013).

Philadelphia International Records – The Sound of Philadelphia

Gamble and Huff are iconic for their undeniable contribution to developing musical artists for over 50 years by establishing Philadelphia International Records (PIR). “Gamble and Huff formed a production company in New York’s Shubert Theatre building in 1962 and have been partners ever since. They realized immediate success and by the end of 1974, Gamble & Huff—and publishing partner Bell –were the leading pop and soul producers in the business. Meanwhile, Philadelphia International was the second-biggest African-American owned record company in America (right behind Motown), while Mighty Three Music Group, the publishing arm of music from Gamble, Huff and Bell, was recognized among the top R&B/soul music publishers.” (SongWriters Hall of Fame, 2023).

“Over the last decades, Gamble & Huff’s award-winning partnership has generated more than 3,500 songs, including 50 chart pop and R&B hit singles and 75 RIAA gold, platinum and multi-platinum certifications. The pair has won five Grammy’s® for their songwriting and collected 86 BMI Pop and R&B Awards. They helped pioneer the R&B subgenre of “Philadelphia soul” and together they formed Philadelphia International Records in 1971.” (SongWriters Hall of Fame, 2023).

In their own words videos featuring Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff:

The following videos capture the historical evolution of Philadelphia International Records (PIR):

Gamble and Huff are vital because they represent concrete models of success. Students can infer Gamble and Huff’s journey to establish a recognizable worldwide recording studio was probably confronted with challenges. However, based on ultimately succeeding despite setbacks are examples that students can reference in their lives as the motivation not to give up. Gamble and Huff can inspire students to exceed their expectations and achieve goals.

Therefore, the songs and lesson plans were selected to expose students to many unfamiliar Philadelphia International Records artists with brilliant musical talents. I also, want student to learn about the massive impact of Gamble and Huff. The New York Times captures the fundamental message that I want students to walk away with after they have been immersed in the curriculum unit. “The songwriters and producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Black-owned label Philadelphia International Records turned a city’s aesthetic into a movement that reverberated around the world.” (Light, 2021)

Teaching Strategies

The O’Jays “Family Reunion”

Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School 90-minute daily literacy block will enable me to incorporate the unit for 6 to 8 weeks, equivalent to one grading period. I want to teach lessons that invite students to utilize meta-cognitive skills. I will incorporate hands-on interactive lessons to reach diverse learners that Howard Gardner describes in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. The unit incorporates a range of learning styles and abilities, an educational approach that Howard Gardner developed. Students arrive in the classroom with numerous strengths and deficits; educators are encouraged to incorporate differentiated instruction as part of the routine learning environment.


Mastering numerous reading comprehension skills is a challenging task for struggling learners. Usually, these students are at least one to three years below grade level. My responsibility is to provide students with differentiated instruction to help them close the achievement gap. I will focus on vocabulary and comprehension to facilitate student success in this unit.

Vocabulary: Currently, I experience some students who can decode and recall words; however, their comprehension is significantly impacted by the inability to understand both the literal and implied meaning. As a result, for students who require additional support the context clues are ineffective. Listening to music, reading poetry, narrative verse, and a shorter text will allow me to differentiate, whereby students will concentrate on studying complex words.

Comprehension: Simultaneously, monitoring comprehension is essential, given that students must know what they do and do not understand. Student reflection strategy correlates to meta-cognition since students need to think about why they do what they do. For students to reach a level of sufficient proficiency, I need to implement a comprehensive instructional method. First, there is direct instruction to explain and clarify the task. Second, modeling is an integral component of effective teaching. Third, guided practice allows me to direct and assist students as they become reacquainted with the skill. Lastly, the instruction provides scaffolding tools to support students toward independent skill application.


Students will maintain a reflection journal to document thoughts as they complete the curriculum unit. Students will respond to guiding questions related to music content discussions to record thoughts, feelings, vocabulary, and comprehension progress. Students will improve their written expression and communication skills. They will make a personal connection to areas of interest. Reflective journals will help students to grasp the power of their voice. Students will discover that writing can be a therapeutic mechanism for expressing ideas.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Graphic organizers illustrate the concepts, and it helps students to read and understand complex text. Consistently, I use graphic organizers to enhance my lessons. My students use graphic organizers to help them focus on specific comprehension skills instead of becoming overwhelmed with many expectations. Graphic organizers provide two benefits. First, they allow students to work in shorter chunks. Second, they allow time to digest new or complex concepts.


Large and small group discussion is an integral elements of this unit. First, students will listen to a teacher-selected song, and the teacher will model how to analyze and discuss the lyrics. The teacher will provide students with a list of the comprehension, writing, and specific figurative language skills that will be emphasized. Second, students will read and analyze lyrics in small groups.


Establishing cooperative groups as part of this unit will offer positive outcomes for students. Cooperative groups will provide a learning environment where students can help, assist, encourage, and support each other’s learning efforts. Students will engage in cooperative groups when they create a song.


Incorporating accountable talk in my classroom generated unforeseen benefits. Students who were reluctant to share ideas in a whole group were now engaged in the discussion. Therefore, accountable talk is an important strategy for this unit that allows all students’ voices to be heard. Students are grouped in pairs or quads to “turn and talk to their thought partner(s) regarding the assigned questions or task. Accountable talk provides additional opportunities for students to reflect, debate, and learn.


The purpose of the close read strategy is to comprehend and analyze a text closely. I have successfully implemented a three-step close reading process. Step one with the whole class is to read the entire text and pause periodically to answer a few text-dependent comprehension questions orally. In step two, students reread the text to answer comprehension questions and cite explicit and implicit text evidence to support their answers. Also, students annotate the text to establish clarity. Step three review the comprehension answers to ensure student proficiency with the text. I consistently remind students that they are applying the “close reading” strategy, which provides critical analysis skills.


Music is an ideal instructional tool to emphasize content and immediately engage students. Also, music is a non-violent way to express emotions. Some people use music to help them through life’s positive and negative emotional experiences. Listening to your favorite song may improve your mood. Some programs use music therapy to help people deal with traumatic events. During stressful events, music is recommended to soothe or calm the nerves. We can no longer deny the impact of technology in our classrooms. The research, according to Jason Dorsey (2022), proves that it is imperative for teachers to establish methods to help students use technology responsibly in the classroom. “Gen Z are true digital natives. Our State of Gen Z research studies show that 95% own a smartphone, 83% own a laptop, 78% own an advanced gaming console, and 57% have a desktop computer, 29% use their smartphone past midnight on a nightly basis.” (Dorsey, 2022).


Students’ overall assessments will be based on a portfolio of a collection of the above assignments and the completion of the lesson plans that follow. The assessment criteria will include rubrics with a score of five indicating outstanding work and a score of one showing the assignment needs improvement. A checklist will be provided to ensure adherence. Student scores for independent work are essential because seventh- and eighth-grade students will soon transition to high school. Sometimes transitioning to high school is difficult because my school is a small learning community; as a result, it is paramount that my students gain confidence and independence.

Classroom Activities


The Jacksons “Enjoy Yourself”

Objective: Students will be able to (SWBAT) research the history of Philadelphia International Records in order to (IOT) to justify why Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were iconic contributors to the music industry.

Standards: CC.1.2.7.A Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. CC.1.2.7.B Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly, as well as inferences, conclusions, and/or generalizations drawn from the text. CC.1.4.7.V Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.


  • Chromebook
  • List of Teacher Created Recommended Websites
  • Internet Resources
  • Research Note Taking Graphic Organizer (Hopkins, 2017)


  • The teacher will instruct students to use the note-taking graphic organizer to collect and organize information.
  • Students will begin their research with the suggested teacher-created websites.
  • Students will complete a Google slide presentation to document research information.
  • Students will answer the guiding questions in the Google slides.

Guiding Questions:

  • How did Philadelphia International Records(PIR) become prominent in the music industry?
  • What are some failures PIR encountered?
  • What business decisions were most influential in PIR?
  • What are the two or three most important lessons you or any other young person might learn from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff?
  • What questions do you have about PIR that was not found in the research?

Performance Task: Collaborative Discussion – Students work in pairs to discuss their research findings. Each student share at least one piece of new information they learned from their classmate. Student volunteers will have the option to share their research projects with the class.

Extension Activity: “Soul Music with Laiken” These comprehensive resources are interesting because they allow students to learn about Hilton Head, South Carolina, and the evolution of soul music from a different perspective. Students can analyze the similarities and differences to evaluate the value of soul music in different parts of the country. The link also has lesson plan references to other genres of music.

2018-2019 Curriculum – Unit 1-Soul Music with Laiken


The O’Jays “Message In Our Music”

Objective: SWBAT to create a playlist of old and new school lyrics IOT compare and contrast the main idea(s) communicated in the music.

Standard: CC.1.5.7.C Speaking & Listening – Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.


  • Chromebook
  • Anticipation Guide: Survey before and after
  • Journal via a Notebook or Google Doc
  • Teacher Playlist of Old School Songs (Appendix C)

Procedures: Before completing this lesson, students have researched information about the Sound of Philadelphia – Philadelphia International Records.

  • Students will complete an anticipation guide to activate prior knowledge, stimulate interest, and solicit perspective before creating the playlists.
  • Sample Playlist Lesson – How to Help Student Make A Playlist That Promotes Well-Being
  • Students select five new school (student choice of artists) and five old school (from Philadelphia International Records artists) for a total of 10 songs.
  • Students type or write the guiding questions in their journals.
  • Students answer the guiding questions in their journals using prose, poetry, illustrations, or all three.

Guiding Questions: (Facing History, 2014)

  • What is the role music can play in shaping the way we see ourselves and others?
  • What role can music play as an agent of change?
  • What can we learn about the past by focusing on music?

Performance Task: Song Analysis – The beginning of the lesson will be direct instruction to allow the teacher to model the process for extracting critical information to answer the guiding questions while creating the playlists. Students will independently create two playlists; old school versus new school. Students respond to the exit ticket prompt. Select one song from each playlist. What parts or features of the lyrics was the determining factor to include the two songs on your final playlist? Cite specific details from the song lyrics to support your answer

Extension Activity: “The Roots of Hip Hop” (TeachRock, 2023). These resources are powerful for several reasons: First, the lesson includes primary source artifacts, making the narrative authentic. Second, the content is engaging. As a result, student participation will escalate. Third,  a teacher can foster historical and modern day musical connections. Fourth, students can speak about “The Roots of Hip Hop” from a lens of knowledge, not emotions; essentially, students are becoming experts in the genre. Fifth, students may become motivated to learn about the historical impact surrounding other music genres.

Full Lesson Plan: The Roots of Hip Hop Teacher Lesson Plan

Student Version – Slide Deck: Student Slide Deck – The Roots of Hip Hop

Black Thought Delivers Pure Poetry In His Love Letter To Hip Hop | A Love Letter To Hip Hop


WDAS-FM Tony Brown Quiet Storm

Objective: SWBAT to create a timeline IOT analyze the relationship between the Black community and WDAS.

Standard: CC.1.5.7.C Speaking & Listening – Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study. CC.8.5.6-8.G. Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


  • Chromebook
  • List of Teacher Created Recommended Websites
  • Internet Resources
  • Timeline Graphic Organizer


  • Students will research the history of WDAS and Georgie Woods.
  • Students select events that are important to WDAS 70 year history.
  • Write a title, and the date
  • Students summarizes the event in their own words.
  • Students evaluates the significance of the event.

Guiding Questions:

  • How has WDAS contributed to the success of songwriters, producers, and entertainers?
  • Specifically, in the first 50 years of WDAS, why was the radio disc jockey an integral job and spring board for the entertainer’s success?
  • Why was WDAS important to the Black community?

Performance Task: Interactive TimeLine – The purpose is to connect the overlapping history of Philadelphia International Records, WDAS, and the value of music to the Black community. Students select an old school song that captures or resonates with the timeline they created.

Extension Activity: Often students are only acquainted with the lead music artist performers. Students could benefit from getting exposure to the intricacies of behind- the-scenes. The music industry is complex, with numerous career opportunities. Therefore, I plan for students to visit a music or a radio station. For example, visit WXPN. Another option is to invite guest speakers. “Guest speakers are fundamental in breaking down the barriers of the classroom walls to deepen learning. The experience allows students to connect with professionals and create meaningful learning connections.” (Shane, 2022).


Jean Carn “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head”

Objective: SWBAT to generate a 10 page product IOT analyze what are the parts or features of old school versus new school common elements.

Standard: CC.1.4.7.C Develop and analyze the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples; include graphics and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


  • Chromebook
  • Internet Resources
  • Google slides
  • Student work from lessons one through three

Procedures: The culminating final project will consist of a 10-page project. Students will address the essence and love of music timelessness by identifying the similarities between the songs and/or music artists. Students are encouraged to express the final project using a preferred media platform such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. Teaching this unit provides a space for students to explore, research, and contemplate how they navigate the world. Students can include additional pages to analyze how music has changed over time. Research a Philadelphia International Records artist that you would like to expand your knowledge. Also, students will answer what new information is learned. The culminating final project will require students to present their projects to classmates.

Guiding Questions: (The Editors, 2022)

  • Do you think learning about music can help people better understand other cultures?
  • Do you think music can bring people together?

I will conclude the curriculum unit with how I started the unit, with a quote from

Kenny Gamble:

“I love music, any kind of music.” See, I do love all kinds of music. I like jazz. I like it all. [Recites lyrics] “As long as it’s swinging all the joy that it’s bringing…”

(Sharp, 2009).


Bibliography For Teachers

Bouchrika, I. (2023). 50 Current Student Stress Statistics: 2023 Data, Analysis & Prediction. Retrieved from

Bryant, S. (2014). The Positive Influence of Playing Music On Youth. Retrieved from

Cam. (2023). Learn English Every Day. 80 conversation questions about music. Retrieved from

Dorsey, J. (2022). Gen Z and tech dependency: How the youngest generation interacts differently with the digital world. Retrieved from,also%20show%20signs%20of%20dependency.

Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation, Inc., and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. (2014). The Sounds of Change. Retrieved from

Fiorillo, V. (2021). An Oral History of the Sound of Philadelphia. Retrieved from

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books.

Hopkins, G. (2017). Graphic Organizer: Research Note-Taking Made Easy. Retrieved from

Jackson, J. (2004). A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul. Oxford University Press.

Light, A. (2021). 50 Years Later, Gamble and Huff’s Philly Sound Stirs the Soul.

Retrieved from

Mansell, H. (2022). 5 Takeaways from NAMM’s Hill Day 2022. Retrieved from

Morrison, J. (2011). Forty Years of Philadelphia Sound: Songwriters Leon Huff and Kenneth Gamble composed tunes with political messages for chart-toppers like the O’Jays and Billy Paul. Retrieved from

MusicAdmin. (2021). The Benefits of Music on Teens. Retrieved from

Perry, J. (2020). WDAS looks at its legacy as it celebrates 70 years on air. Retrieved from

School District of Philadelphia (2022). Retrieved from

Shane, S. (2022). Leveraging Guest Speakers to Increase Student Learning. Retrieved from

Sharp, K. (2009). American Songwriter: GAMBLE & HUFF: SOUL DEEP. Retrieved from  by

SongWriters Hall of Fame. (2023). Retrieved from

TeachRock. (2023). Retrieved from

The Editors. (2022). 51 Questions to Ask About Music. Retrieved from

The History Makers. (2002). Kenny Gamble. Retrieved from

The History Makers. (2013). Leon Huff. Retrieved from

The Hit Formula. (2014). Songwriting: The Hit Formula. Retrieved from

The Suffers. (2023). Retrieved from

Various Artists. (2008). Conquer the World: The Lost Soul of Philadelphia International Records. (Audio CD). Sony Legacy.

Washington, R. (2017). Education is music to Kenny Gamble’s ears. Retrieved from

WDAS FM 105.3 (2023). The Pride of Philadelphia- Black History Month with a Philadelphia Spin. Retrieved from WDAS FM 105.3 The Pride Of Philadelphia

Wilkinson, G. (2009). Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia – George Woods. Retrieved from

Yamaha Staff. (2022). Status of Music Education in Public Schools Retrieved from Retrieved from Retrieved from

Zatorre, R. (2018). Why Do We Love Music? Retrieved from Why Do We Love Music?

Student Resources

50th Anniversary – Philadelphia International Records. (2023). Retrieved from

Billboard Staff. (2021). The 50 Greatest Philadelphia International Songs: Staff Picks. Retrieved from

Black Music History. (2021). Leon Huff. Retrieved from

Gamble-Huff Music. (2023). Retrieved from

Kenny Gamble. (2023). Retrieved from

Sharp, K. (2009). American Songwriter: GAMBLE & HUFF: SOUL DEEP. Retrieved from  by

Student Slide Deck – The Roots of Hip Hop

Wildran, J. (2008). Legendary Songwriting & Producing Duo Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff Talk About Writing Their Classic Hit Songs. SONGWRITERUNIVERSE Magazine. Retrieved from



1.2 Reading Informational Text

Students read, understand, and respond to informational text—with an emphasis on comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and making connections among ideas and between texts with focus on textual evidence

CC.1.2.7.A Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

CC.1.2.7.B Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly, as well as inferences, conclusions, and/or generalizations drawn from the text.

1.4 Writing

Students write for different purposes and audiences. Students write clear and focused text to convey a well-defined perspective and appropriate content.

CC.1.4.7.C Develop and analyze the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples; include graphics and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension

CC.1.4.7.V Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.

CC.1.4.8.C Develop and analyze the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples; include graphics and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

1.5 Speaking & Listening

Speaking and Listening Students present appropriately in formal speaking situations, listen critically, and respond intelligently as individuals or in group discussions.

CC.1.5.7.C Speaking & Listening – Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.

8..5 Reading Informational Text

Reading Informational Text Students read, understand, and respond to informational text with emphasis on comprehension, making connections among ideas and between texts with focus on textual evidence

CC.8.5.6-8.B. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

CC.8.6.6-8.G. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


May 2023 CW Middle School Music Survey


YouTube Video – September 16, 2008

Induction of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

In their own words videos featuring Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff:

Gamble & Huff on Philadelphia International Records History, The Jacksons, Teddy Pendergrass + More

Mr Kenny Gamble

NPR – Founders ‘Of the Sound of Philadelphia’ On 50 Years of Soul

The Philly Sound: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff & The Story Of Brotherly Love (1997) | Black Thought

The following videos capture the historical evolution of Philadelphia International Records (PIR):

Philadelphia International Records 101- 50th Anniversary (Episode 1)

Philadelphia International Records 101 – Gamble & Huff (Episode 2)

Philadelphia International Records 101 – Women of P.I.R. (Episode 3)

Philadelphia International Records 101 – MFSB (Episode 4)

Philadelphia International Records 101 – Sigma Sound Studios (Episode 5)

Philadelphia International Records 101 – Thom Bell (Episode 6)

Philadelphia International Records 101 – 50th Anniversary (Episode 7)


WDAS History

YouTube Video- 2020

WDAS is Celebrating 70 Years

YouTube Video- May 22, 2020

Wynne Alexander Talks About WDAS History

YouTube Video- September 18, 2020

Jerry Wells Celebrates 70 years of WDAS History

YouTube Video- November 20, 2020

Cody Anderson Celebrates 70 years of WDAS History

YouTube Video- July 25, 2020

Mimi Brown Talks About WDAS History with Teddy Pendergrass, Prince + more

YouTube Video- 2020

Doug Henderson & Gary Shepherd celebrate and reminisce on 70 Years with the WDAS family

YouTube Video- 2020

Kenny Gamble Talks About 70 Years of WDAS

History of Philadelphia Radio Station 105.3 WDAS

YouTube Video – 2020

Lens Through Time: Georgie Woods

YouTube Video – October 8, 2011

WDAS-AM 1480 Philadelphia – Georgie Woods – 1983

YouTube Video – October 26, 2011

WDAS AM-FM Philadelphia – Kenny Gamble – Georgie Woods – Jan 1 1984


O’Jays – For the Love of Money

O’Jays – Family Reunion

O’Jays – Message in Our Music

O’Jays – I Will Always Love My Mama

Lou Rawls – Groovy People

The Jacksons – Enjoy Yourself – official video

The Jacksons – Show You the Way to Go

Teddy Pendergrass – I Don’t Love You Anymore

The Jacksons – Dreamer

Philadelphia International All Stars – Let’s Clean Up the Ghetto

The Jacksons – Goin’ Places

Jean Carn – Don’t Let It To Your Head

Teddy Pendergrass – You’re My Latest  Greatest Inspiration


Anticipation Guide Graphic Organizer p.25

Timeline Graphic Organizer p. 26

Note-taking Graphic Organizer p.27


(Title of Lesson/Text/Media)

Mark whether or not you agree or disagree with each statement on the left side of the page. At the end of the lesson, go back and decide whether you still agree or disagree on the right side of the page.

Agree Disagree Statement Agree Disagree