Lesson 2: Exploring “Five Feet High and Rising”

Aim: How do the musical elements of modulation, verse, and lyrics tell a story in “Five Feet High and Rising?”

Summary: Students recognize modulation between verses and how it is used to visualize lyrics in “Five Feet High and Rising.”

Materials: Musical Explorers CD or online audio

Standards: GA: ESGMK-2.CR.2; ESGMK-2.PR.3; ESGMK-2.RE.1; ESGMK-2.RE.3; ESGMK-2.CN.1; ESGMK-2.CN.2
SC: MK-2GM.6 MK-2GM.9 MK-2GM.10

Vocabulary: ballad, modulation, verse


Explore the Lyrics in “Five Feet High and Rising”

  • “Five Feet High and Rising” is the story of a storm and the flooding thereafter. Listen to “Five Feet High and Rising,” Track 9.
  • Discuss the lyrics with your students.
    • What kind of place is Anders singing about? Is it in the city or country? How can you tell?
    • What happens when there is a storm in the area where you live?
  • “Five Feet High and Rising” is a ballad. A ballad is a story that is set to music. Each verse of the song tells a different part of the story.

Sesame Street: Johnny Cash And Biff Sing Five Feet High

Explore Modulation in “Five Feet High and Rising”

  • There are four verses in this song. The verses tell the story of a song. Each verse has the same melody but different lyrics.
  • In “Five Feet High and Rising” there is a musical change between each verse. Ask your students if they can hear the musical change.
    • What change do you hear in the music?
    • We are going to listen to the song again. When you hear the change, raise both hands over your head.
  • The song is getting higher with each verse. When all of the notes of a song get higher or lower, that is called modulation.
  • Listen to the song again and use body movements to show all the modulations:
    • First verse: Students put their hands on their knees.
    • Second verse: Hands on hips
    • Third verse: Hands on shoulders
    • Fourth verse: Arms stretched overhead

Create Your Own Ballad

  • Using SG17, write your own ballad about what happens in your community when it rains. This can be completed as a class or in small groups.

Literacy Extension: Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle

Tap Tap Boom Boom is another story about what happens during a thunderstorm—this time in a busy city!

Musical Word Wall

Add ballad, modulation, and verse to the Musical Word Wall.

PDF Downloads

SG17 ↓ Download File


Musical Explorers Audio Tracks


Go to Country Music Unit Music Assessment