Rhythm and Motifs

  1. Introduction
  2. Teach It 
  3. Dig Deeper


This segment discusses how artists and writers use repetition, patterns, and variation to create a sense of rhythm in order to make their work more appealing. Various examples and explanations of these strategies are provided in the segment.

Time: 45-50 minute period


  • Students will identify the use of rhyme, assonance, and alliteration in the lyrics of a song.
  • Students will apply the use of rhyme, assonance, and alliteration by revising sentences to reflect each of these literary devices.
  • Students will define and locate or produce examples of dramatic effect in writing or art.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts:

  • R.CCR.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • R.CCR.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g. a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
  • W.CCR.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.CCR.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • W.CCR.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • L.CCR.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Maine Learning Results Visual and Performing Arts Standards:

  • A2 Elements of Art and Principles of Design – Visual Arts
  • A3 Media, Tools, Techniques, and Processes
  • E2 The Arts and Other Disciplines

Segment Vocabulary:

rhythm, motifs, pictorial, meter, subtle, repetition, organic lines, fluid-looking, alliteration, assonance
Word Wall

Teach It

Prior to viewing:

Ask students to find the lyrics to a song that they like (that would be appropriate for school) and paste them into a word processing document. Ask students to complete a quick write where they answer these questions:  Why do you like the song?  What is it about the song that appeals to you?

Quick write Link

Explain that they are going to be watching a segment that explains how writing and art, much like music, rely on rhythms and patterns to increase the appeal of the piece.

Song Lyric Finder

Pause the segment after the Narrator states, “So the next time you’re listening to a favorite song, you may be able to pick out some of these patterns:  rhyme, assonance, and alliteration.”  Next, instruct students to identify the use of rhyme, assonance, and alliteration in the lyrics of the song they chose.

Before showing the last part of the segment, tell students that the next segment shows the use of dramatic effect in photography and writing.  Tell them they will need to be able to explain the idea of dramatic effect after watching the segment. Show the remaining portion of the segment.

Instruct students to find an example of dramatic effect in a piece of writing or photograph or create their own.  Have students write a brief explanation of how their selection is a good example of dramatic effect.  Post the examples on a bulletin board or class website.

Writing Through Art Activity:

Ask students to revisit the writing they have completed on the specific image. Tell them to select at least three sentences to revise. Ask them to add rhyme, alliteration, and assonance to a few sentences. Students should be cautious that the addition of these literary devices does not interfere with the communication of the ideas; these devises should serve to enhance the piece.

Revising Sentences to add Literary Devices

Dig Deeper

Note: If students created a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast art and writing in the first segment, revisit the diagram and make any necessary additions or corrections based on this segment.

Links to teacher inspired lessons:

Creating Rhythm for your Sentences using Garage Band