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October 06

The Jazz Singer debuted on this day in 1927.

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The Jazz Singer debuted on this day in 1927.

Grades 5 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event





On October 6, 1927, The Jazz Singer, which is generally considered the first "talkie" film, premiered. While the film was still mostly silent, it did contain sections of prerecorded and synchronized dialogue and music, which movie audiences had not heard before. Though sound in film was dismissed as a fad at the time, The Jazz Singer's memorable line "you ain't heard nothin' yet" clearly pointed to the future of film-making.





As a warm-up activity, ask students to think about a movie that they have seen quite a few times and describe the sound in the movie. Prompt students to think about music, sound effects, and dialogue. Most likely, students will find this activity difficult; we often do not pay attention to the sound in a movie.

Select a short scene from a film (see List of Suggested Scenes) and play the clip once with the sound on the television turned all the way down. Ask students to predict what sounds they expect to hear and why. Then play the clip again with the sound turned up. Have students compare the sounds that they heard with their predictions. Also ask students to write about how the scene was different when they could hear the sound; in other words, how did the sound affect them while watching the movie (e.g., more suspenseful, scary)?




  • The Arrival of Sound Film: The Jazz Singer

    This website provides a clip from The Jazz Singer showcasing the sound elements of the film, along with a few characteristic silent film elements.


  • FilmSound.org

    This site includes some interesting articles and video interviews about how sound is used in movies. Students may find the page on clichéd sounds to be particularly interesting.


  • The Marriage of Sight and Sound: Early Edison Experiments with Film and Sound

    This page from the Library of Congress American Memory historical collections discusses Edison's early attempts to unite sight and sound in film.


  • The Music of Al Jolson

    This website contains a brief biography of The Jazz Singer star Al Jolson, along with sheet music of some of his most popular songs.



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Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Lights, Camera, Action...Music: Critiquing Films Using Sight and Sound

Movie music and magic set the scene for this lesson in which students analyze a scene from Good Morning, Vietnam and then create a scene of their own.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Writing a Flashback and Flash-Forward Story Using Movies and Texts as Models

Using the film The Sandlot, students are introduced to the literary devices of flashbacks and flash-forwards. They then write their own stories using those devices.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

On a Musical Note: Exploring Reading Strategies by Creating a Soundtrack

Students create a soundtrack for a novel that they have read, as they engage in such traditional reading strategies as predicting, visualizing, and questioning.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Writing a Movie: Summarizing and Rereading a Film Script

Lights! Camera! Action! In this lesson, students view a scene with no dialogue from E.T., write a script for that scene, and perform a dramatic reading while the scene plays.


Grades   2 – 3  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Jazz Up Writing Workshop: Writing Biographies of African American Jazz Musicians

During writing workshop, students research, write, revise, and share their own comprehensive biographies of African American jazz musicians.