Murals in my Neighborhood

By Alberto Romero, June 13, 2007

Grade Level

  • High School


  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

Two fifty-minute class periods


In this lesson, students will explore and rate various murals throughout Philadelphia* by utilizing grading rubrics. This lesson will help students become familiar with using rubrics as a tool, as well as with their city. *This lesson can be done in any location; Philadelphia is just used as an example.

National Standards

Identify and use common organizational structures and graphic features to comprehend information.  

Common Core Standards

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening: 

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Students will:
  • utilize rubrics to grade/rate murals found around their city
  • explore their city
  • learn about design and presentation of murals
  • make decisions about what murals they are able to identify with and what murals successfully represent their community



Stimulation, confrontation, pattern recognition, novelty, personal experience or history, personal or cultural identity


  • Pass out copies of the rubric for rating/grading the murals. Each student should have one copy per mural.
  • Review the rubric with the class and make sure all of the students know what they will be looking for in each mural. Tell the students that they will be taking a field trip to discuss various murals found in their city. Provide a map with all of the locations of the murals for the students.
  • Take students on a walking tour to visit x number of murals.
  • At each mural, instruct students to use the rubrics to grade what they see.
  • In class, ask each student to share his or her rubrics and compare/contrast each mural’s rating.
  • Brainstorm as a class what the students would want to see in a mural at their school.
  • Also brainstorm as a class different ways that rubrics could be used in the classroom. Make sure that each student understands the rubric as a helpful tool.


Students are able to speak intelligently and give reasons why they liked certain aspects of a mural, why they disliked certain aspects, and which murals they found pleasing, but were rated poorly by others. One differentiation would be in the number or murals visited, the number of murals graded, or using verbal responses as opposed to written responses.

Enrichment Extension Activities

The ultimate goal is to familiarize students with the intricacies of rubrics. They should be able to take what they learned in this lesson and apply it to utilizing rubrics to grade students' work: written, spoken, or otherwise.

Teacher Reflection

The activity was very successful. Students worked diligently and were able to compare notes at the end of the day and have detailed, animated discussions about what they liked and didn't like in each mural. We used the same rubrics when we took a bus tour of murals around Philadelphia (the ones we couldn't walk to) and also during a virtual tour of murals utilizing the Web site

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