Music Learning Activities Plan

"Amish Paradise" from Weird Al's Bad Hair Day

Adam Ogden

Music 3824

Learning Prerequisites

Students will need to be able to keep a steady beat so they can follow the tapping chart. They need to be able to decipher between modern-day inventions and materials used more in the past. They also need basic listening skills in order to pay attention to the lyrics of the song.

Materials needed


  1. Students will listen attentively to the lyrics of the song and afterwards list characteristics of Amish culture.
  2. Students will use pictures to decipher between Amish culture and modern-day items.
  3. Students will tap out the rhythm of the song using a tapping chart.
  4. Students will read the book, "Raising Yoder's Barn," then use musical instruments to reprensent the happenings in the story.
  5. Students will demonstrate their understanding of parody by creating their own lyrices to the music of an existing song of their choice.
  6. Students will create a dance or series of movements to represent their understanding of Amish culture.
  7. Students will watch, "Weird Al" music video of Amish Paradise, as well as a movie clip from the movie, "Withess (starring Harrison ford), in order to gain a perspective of Amish culture.
  8. Students wil create original poems about Amish culture.

Anticipatory Set

Have students close their eyes. Tell them to picture living in a world without cars, electricity, television, colorful clothing, computers, and movies. Ask them how they would feel living without these modern-day conveniences.Would it be possible to live in such a world today?


  1. Hand out chart with pictures. Tell students to listen attentively to the lyrics of the song to deterimine which pictures on the paper describe the Amish people and which pictures do not.(Some might be both and some may be deceiving). After the song is played, ask the students to give their input, while commenting on the Amish culture discussed in the song.
  2. Hand out the tapping chart. Explain that they will tap on the chart at the same rate throughout the song. Play the song while tapping chart with the students. Afterwards, help students identify choruses and verses.
  3. Divide the students into groups of 2-4. Give each group a song which they have to create different lyrics for. Depending on time, students would either create a parody for one or more verses, the chorus, or the entire song.
  4. Read "Raising Yoder's Barn." Have students represent the story's message, emotion, and sound (effects) using musical instruments. Have students describe why they used the sounds they chose to depict the elements of the story.
  5. Divide board into two sections (Amish and other). Hand out one picture to each student. Instruct students to listen to song while listing characteristics of the Amish people on a sheet of paper. During the song they are also to determine if their picture has to do with the Amish lifestyle. After the song has played, instruct students to come up and put their picture in the corresponding pile. List characteristics on board based on student pictures and suggestions.


"To close this activity, we are going to create a dance to the music of this song which describes many characteristics of Amish culture. Based on the list we've created from the lyrics of the song, we want to visually represent the Amish culture through movement." Have students describe message of song (Amish) in classroom space allotted.

Behaviors and Concepts

  1. Students will describe the rhythm and expressiveness of the song through dance and/or movement.
  2. Students will demonstrate the rhythm of the song through various hand movements (finger/pen tapping).
  3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the expressivenes of the song by analyzing pictures that fit or do not fit the song.
  4. Students will describe Amish culture by using the lyrics from the song.
  5. Students will compose their own poems based on Weird Al's parody.
  6. Students will create their own parodies to existing songs.