Lesson Topic: “Storytelling Songs with Sonia de Los Santos and Rafael Lopez”

Subject Area: English Language Arts, Music, Visual Arts

Lesson Goal: Following an arts integration lesson highlighting Storytelling, Music, and Visual art, students will create an original artwork and accompanying written element inspired by contemporary Mexican artists, with the cross-cultural opportunity to add in bilingual elements through vocabulary use

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 5th grade (project can be modified to include grades 8-12 by enhancing complexity in accordance with standards)


  • ELA K.C.1.3: Using a combination of drawing, dictating, and/or writing, express opinions about a topic or text with at least one supporting reason.
  • ELA 1.C.1.2: Write narratives that retell two or more appropriately sequenced events, including relevant details and a sense of closure.
  • ELA 1.V.1.3: Identify and use picture clues, context clues, word relationships, reference materials, and/or background knowledge to determine the meaning of unknown words.
  • ELA 2.C.5.1: Use one or more multimedia element(s) to enhance oral or written tasks
  • ELA 2.V.1.1: Use grade-level academic vocabulary appropriately in speaking and writing.
  • ELA 3.C.1.2: Write personal or fictional narratives using a logical sequence of events, appropriate descriptions, dialogue, a variety of transitional words or phrases, and an ending.
  • ELA 3.C.5.1: Use two or more multimedia elements to enhance oral or written tasks.
  • ELA 4.C.1.2: Write personal or fictional narratives using a logical sequence of events and demonstrating an effective use of techniques such as descriptions and transitional words and phrases.
  • ELA 5.C.2.1: Present information orally, in a logical sequence, using nonverbal cues, appropriate volume, clear pronunciation, and appropriate pacing.
  • VA K.S.1.1: Explore art processes and media to produce artworks.
  • VA 1.C.1.2: Gather clues to help interpret and reflect on works of art.
  • VA 1.H.3.1: Identify connections between visual art and other content areas.
  • VA 2.C.2.1: Use appropriate decision-making skills to meet intended artistic objectives.
  • VA 2.H.1.1: Identify examples in which artists have created works based on cultural and life experiences.
  • VA 3.H.3.1: Discuss how knowledge gained in the visual art classroom can serve as prior knowledge in other classrooms.
  • VA 4.C.2.3: Develop and support ideas from various resources to create unique artworks.
  • VA 5.S.1.3: Create artworks to depict personal, cultural, and/or historical themes.
  • VA 5.H.3.1: Develop and support ideas from various resources to create unique artworks.
  • WA.K12.NM.7.1 : Identify key words and phrases in the target language that are based on previous knowledge acquired in subject area classes.


Rafael Lopez


Learning Goals:

  1. Students will develop craftsmanship through exploration of various art mediums
  2. SWBAT create a personal work of art inspired by and in response to works from highlighted contemporary artists
  3. Students will be able to describe their artwork in the context of a sentence, story, poem or song in response to examples and experience.

Time: Two 45-minute class periods, following presentation by (or introduction to) musical artist Sonia de Los Santos.

Procedure: Students will experience a presentation by (or otherwise be introduced to the music of) Sonia de Los Santos and discuss some methods of storytelling; character, setting, descriptive words, plot, etc.

Teacher will show examples of the illustrative art of Rafael Lopez (specifically visual characters created in support of content by Sonia de Los Santos).

After analyzing some of the visual elements used in Lopez’s art (textured/painted paper, use of vibrant colors, patterns, etc.) Students will then practice various methods of visual texture to create a variety of colorful painted papers to be used later to create a collage.

While painted papers are drying, students will be challenged to choose their own creature, or one from the examples provided, and develop a short sentence, story, poem, or song using descriptive words. Provided Spanish vocabulary can also be incorporated, as demonstrated by Sonia de los Santos.

Students are also encouraged to draw a setting (background or landscape) to accompany their story. This will serve as a background for their collage creature and can be used as a placemat to keep track of elements students will use in their collage.

Once painted papers are dry, students will then use their best craftsmanship to illustrate their chosen character on the painted paper of their choice (drawing from observation). Students are encouraged to outline character with sharpie to define linework.

Students will then carefully cut out their character.

Scrap papers are to be shared by students to add collage details to their work; various shapes, lines and colors can be used to create patterns such as feathers on birds, scales on armadillos, or colorful details on butterfly wings. (Don’t forget to reference your artist and descriptions from your story!)

Students will then carefully paint and texturize the background or landscape they drew previously to accompany their story. When dry, students may attach their creature.

In summary, students are given the opportunity to share their work with the class.

In addition, students will participate in a guided discussion comparing their stories and artwork to their shared experience with songs of Sonia de los Santos and the artwork of Rafael Lopez.

*Teacher may create a display to exhibit student works. Pictures may be taken as well (with permission) to send to the visiting artist in appreciation.


  • Lined paper (for writing component)
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • 8×10 white paper (for painted paper)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Texturizing tools (sponges, bubble wrap, forks, cut cardboard, etc.)
  • Water cups (for brush rinsing)
  • Paper towels
  • 9×12 white paper (for background/painted setting)
  • Sharpies (for outlining)
  • Scissors
  • Glue and/or glue sticks

Supplemental Materials: Spanish vocabulary list, illustration examples (included)


  • Character
  • Setting
  • Plot/ Storyline
  • Descriptor
  • Elements of Art: line, shape, color, form, value, texture, space
  • Visual Texture
  • Pattern
  • Collage
  • Scenery
  • Background
  • Landscape

Spanish Vocabulary:

  • Luciérnaga – Firefly
  • Feliz – Happy
  • Esperanza – Hope
  • El Cielo – Sky
  •  El Sol – Sun
  • Lluvia – Rain
  • Fiesta – Party
  • Viaje – Trip
  • Sueña- Dream
  • Allegria – Joy
  • Yo Volaré – I will fly
  • Corona de flores – Crown of flowers
  • Rojo – Red
  • Naranja – Orange
  • Amarillo – Yellow
  • Luna – Moon
  • Lucero – Star
  • Donde tu estés – Wherever you are
  • Colibri – Hummingbird
  • Chichimoco – Chipmunk
  • Mariposa – Butterfly
  • El Armadillo – Armadillo
  • Golondrina – Swallow bird
  • Amapolita – Poppy
  • Pajaritos – Little Birds
  • Jarana – 8 stringed guitar
  • La Maraca – Maraca/rattle
  • Verde – Green
  • Azul – Blue
  • Morada – Purple



Rafael Lopez

Meet Sonia and Rafael

Meet Sonia’s Band

Elena Lacayo (Guitarrón)

Elena La Fulana is a Latin Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and leader of the DC-based bilingual Latin-folk band Elena & Los Fulanos. Originally from Managua, Nicaragua, Elena identifies as both American and Nicaraguan and her music reflects this dual identity. Since 2006, Elena lived in Washington, DC where she has been nominated for two local Wammie Awards and was included in Washington City Paper’s People Issue 2017 highlighting notable Washingtonians. Elena has toured extensively and has played notable events such as the Latin Grammys Person of the Year (2021), the Kennedy Center Honors (2019), and The White House (2021). She has played on a number of Latin Grammy-nominated albums and in 2022 received a Latin Grammy nomination as part of a collaboration with band Flor de Toloache.


Berta Moreno (Saxophone & Clarinet)

Berta Moreno is an awarded jazz saxophonist, composer, songwriter, and bandleader from Spain most known for her original compositions and work blending Contemporary Jazz, World Music, Afro-Latin music, and improvisation.

Critics usually define her as “Driven and Determined”- Downbeat Magazine; “a storyteller”- WBGO or “a highly thoughtful and precise soloist, with well-planned statements that don’t waste any notes” – All About Jazz.

With an extensive career, she has been touring and performing as a bandleader and side woman in some of the leading jazz festivals, including Jazzaldia Heineken, North Sea Jazz or TD James Moody Jazz Festival, and some of the main venues and theatres, TV and Radio programs both in Europe and US including NPR, WBGO, NJPAC, The Town Hall NYC or The Kimmel Center.

She has shared the stages with some of the most established jazz musicians, such as Arturo O’Farrill, John Patitucci, Steve Wilson, Troy Roberts, Francisco Mela, Shai Maestro, Manuel Valera, Jon Faddis, Pedrito Martinez, or Santi Debriano.

Berta’s album “Little Steps” won a Global Music Awards- Gold Medal- for Best Jazz Album in 2017 and a nomination by the IMA Awards (US) and MIN awards (Spain) for Best Jazz album and composition. Her recent album “Tumaini” is in the TOP 20 Best Albums 2021 by NPR Alt. Latino and her composition “The Beauty of the Slum” is a Lennon Award winner at the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest 2022.

She is deeply involved in the Jazz, Latin, and World Music scene, both as a player and a composer, performing weekly at Birdland Jazz Club with the multi- Grammy award winning “Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra”, and teaching in organizations such as the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance or S’Cool Sounds in New York.