PICTURE BOOK LESSON PLAN
GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES K+
Drum Dream Girl written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López
LESSON PLAN CREATION
LESSON PLAN EDITING
Tessa Moren, Fatima Herrera-Zarate, Kevin Lembke, and Bridget Fuller
This lesson is a guided reading experience designed to accompany Margarita Engle’s picture book Drum Dream Girl. Lesson content was written by Ian Fuller as part of his work in the Anti-Bias in K-12 Education course at Portland State University and was designed to start or deepen anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.
LISTEN TO THE READ ALOUD & SOUNDTRACK
SUMMARY + PERSONAL NOTE
The Drum Dream Girl lives on an island of music where girls are not allowed to play drums. Every night she dreams about playing drums herself, and every day she makes rhythm as she walks and hears music in nature. Her father finds her a teacher so that she can go on to play and change the rules for everyone.
This book challenges the status quo of gender and instruments, and asks the question - why not? Especially at a young age, learning the lesson that instruments have nothing to do with gender identity can open up students to pursuing their calling, free of judgement. I remember the first day of 6th grade band when none of the boys picked up flutes, and there was one girl in a pool of boys holding trombones. Young students’ choice can define their musical journey, and sometimes make or break whether they stick with it or not. Unlearning or preventing this gender bias is crucial to becoming invested in music.
This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist teaching and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.
The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.
TEACHING TOLERANCE STANDARDS REFERENCED
The Teaching Tolerance Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades 3-5. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Domains featured in this lesson are as follows:
JUSTICE DOMAIN, STANDARD # 13: I know some true stories about how people have been treated badly because of their group identities, and I don’t like it.
Drum Dream Girl is excluded from playing drums because of her gender, which is inherently unfair..
ACTION DOMAIN, STANDARD # 20: I will join with classmates to make our classroom fair for everyone.
The sisters in the book join together and make their own band in order to play music.
ACTION DOMAIN, STANDARD #16: I care about those who are treated unfairly
Drum Dream Girl’s father finds her a teacher and tries to advocate for her passion.
JUSTICE DOMAIN, STANDARD # 14: I know that life is easier for some people and harder for others and the reasons for that are not always fair.
Drum Dream Girl shows us how life can be made harder because of assumptions and bias and also shows us ways to make change against those biases.
Did limiting who could drum on the island help anyone? Who did it hurt? (Justice # 14)
Do instruments feel like they have a gender? Why? (Justice # 13)
What if we match an instrument with a color? What color reminds you of drums? What about a trumpet? A saxophone? (Action # 20 & Radical Imagination)
Do instruments remind you of animals? Does a trombone or a tuba sound like an elephant? (Radical Imagination)
What instrument would you like to learn to play? Why is it important to follow your calling, even if it’s scary or uncommon? (Justice # 13)
As an activity, choose a dream and say “I can do ______ because I am _______” and state a part of you that will help you get there. (Radical Imagination)
RESOURCES: INSPIRING FEMALE DRUMMERS
As you look through these biographies, think about the diversity of their backgrounds and the time periods they grew up in!
Girls March is doing their part to ensure that women have full representation in virtually every aspect of professional music. Access to direct female mentorship and fostering female-to-female peer connections is the cornerstone for our model. We know that girls need to see successful women in their field to help themselves create a vision for their success. We know the power of meeting and working with other students of a similar age who are also striving to be the best they can be.
Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renee` Watson
The Little Piano Girl by Ann Ingals
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown