Lesson Plan


Wesley Schmidt, in the Storyville Stompers hat, stands in front of his mentor, “King” Richard Matthews.

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
11-12.RI.1, 11-12.RI.7, 9-10.RL.1, 9-10.RL.2, 9-10.RL.3, 9-10.RL.7, 9-10.SL.1, 9-10.SL.1.a, 9-10.SL.1.b, 9-10.SL.1.c, 9-10.SL.1.d, 9-10.SL.2, 9-10.SL.3, 9-10.SL.4, 9-10.SL.5, 9-10.SL.6, 11-12.SL.1, 11-12.SL.1.a, 11-12.SL.1.b, 11-12.SL.1.c, 11-12.SL.1.d, 11-12.SL.2, 11-12.SL.3, 11-12.SL.4, 11-12.SL.5, 11-12.SL.6
Thinking Skills:
Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.

Essential Question

What can be learned from the past by examination of primary artifacts such as photographs?
What experiences can help people to bridge socially created barriers?


• Students will learn to critically analyze candid photography.
• Students will look at historical data (photographs) to see that integration is not a one directional movement in society.
•Students will analyze how musical opportunities created opportunities for cross-cultural connections and consider whether it happens in their own lives.



In Talk That Music Talk, Anthony Bennett explains he encourages young people to get involved in music because, “it affects the way you live, and the way that you deal with people. To say it simply, it creates a harmony in you. This peace. It comes in colors.” This lesson will look at how music brought people together in New Orleans by doing a photographic analysis, and then linking the images back to the story lines in the book. The images come from over 100 years of playing music in New Orleans, spanning from the days of segregation, through the Civil Rights Movement, and into the new millennium.



  • Talk That Music Talk (book of interviews, photographs, analysis, and discussion).
  • National Archives photo analysis template. See LESSON MATERIALS.


Handout with pictures for analysis by students

Download HANDOUT- In Search of Harmony- Photographic Analysis

Sheet for teacher outlining details of photographs that should be discussed by students.

Download L5-Discussion Hints- Photo Analysis

List of questions for students to lead them through photo analysis. Students should present answers to each question as they present their photograph to the class.

Download L 5-Handout-Group Presentation

Worksheet prepared by the National Archives to assist students in analysis of photographs.

Download National Archives Photo Analysis Worksheet

Lesson Hook/Preview

This lesson is about the bridging of separations between people, especially those based on race. Ask students what experiences in their own lives have brought them to recognize a kinship with those who society has told them are different from themselves.


  1. Pass out copies of the photographs from the book Talk That Music Talk and a list of questions for students to answer.

  2. Students will break into small groups to work on one particular photograph assigned by the teacher. They will spend five minutes writing down what they think is going on in the picture, and will share their thoughts with the other group members. They can use the NATIONAL ARCHIVES LESSON PLAN TEMPLATE for assistance.

  3. Students will then return to the chapters in Talk That Music Talk where the photographs are located. The page numbers are located with the images. Together, they will read the stories that accompany the photograph to learn more about what was going on in the image. Afterwards, they will work through the questions on the hand out to prepare to present to the class.

  4. The order of presentations can be determined by the date of the image. The group that has the oldest image should go first. Everyone in the group should go to the front of the class to do the presentation and everyone in the group should present at least one answer. See the document Discussion Hints: Photographs for notes on the images that can support their answers and lead to further discussion

    • Students can look at the photos in their books during group presentation/discussion. Teacher could also project photographs for class discussion.



  1. SEGREGATION: System of separation of people in society by groups, particularly racial groups.
  2. INTEGRATION: The mixing of union of various groups into one unified whole.
  3. SPASM BAND: Musical bands. Particularly popular in New Orleans in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, generally consisting of children playing on the streets using homemade instruments.
  4. DISCRIMINATION: To treat people differently based upon some perceived difference.
  5. RACISM: The belief that race accounts for important inherent differences between individuals.
  6. TIGNON: Head wrap that free women of color in New Orleans were mandated to wear by the Spanish colonial government, and then turned into their own fashion statements.

Assessment Materials

If teacher desires a formal assessment, students could be required to turn in their HANDOUT- In Search of Harmony- Photographic Analysis and answers could be graded for complexity and compared to the DISCUSSION HINTS sheet.

Supports for Struggling Learners

Struggling learners should be carefully partnered/grouped with students who can assist them in the photographic analysis.

Contact Information

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Last updated: July 22, 2019