Activity Overview

Music is one thing that is universal among all people. It gives us certain feelings, brings back memories, and says things that maybe we don’t know how to say to others. Throughout the novel, Zoe’s father Marcus tells her the names of many songs that he loves and that remind him of her, encouraging her to listen to them. Zoe makes a playlist of the music, and it becomes a topic of conversation in their letters and brings them closer.

For this activity, students will choose one of the songs that Marcus told Zoe about and illustrate a part of that song. In the description, students will describe the song and why Zoe’s father may have chosen to share it with her. To differentiate, teachers can have students make a cell for more than one song. The example illustrates and describes two songs.

Examples of Songs Included in From the Desk of Zoe Washington

  • “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder
  • “Hang On Little Tomato” by Pink Martini
  • “Water Runs Dry” by Boyz II Men
  • “Golden” by Jill Scott
  • “To Zion” by Lauryn Hill

Template and Class Instructions

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Due Date:

Objective: Create a cell that describes and illustrates one song that is mentioned in From the Desk of Zoe Washington.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click “Start Assignment”.
  2. Write the song title and the name of the artist in the heading at the top of the cell.
  3. Create an illustration that represents a part of the song using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short description of the song and why Zoe’s father may have shared it with her in the space below the illustration.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/3] Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/3] Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).


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From the Desk of Zoe Washington

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