Elvis Presley:The Early Years Lesson Plan

Karla Smith


Elvis Presley, or better known as simply Elvis, was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. Even after his untimely death, this Mississippian still remains a pop icon. He rose from a humble beginning in Mississippi to launch a rock and roll revolution with his charismatic stage presence and distinctive voice. His musical career earned him the undisputed title of “The King of Rock and Roll” and in death he is still affectionately referred to as “The King.” No other 20th century entertainer has been talked about or written about more than Mississippi native Elvis Presley.


Mississippi Social Studies Framework: Competencies 6.


Grades 7 through 12


  • Whiteboard and marker
  • Mississippi History Now article, "Elvis Presley: The Early Years"
  • Poster board
  • Unlined paper for poems
  • Markers and colored pencils
  • Notebook paper
  • Pens/pencils


The student will:

  • Determine significant events in the life of Elvis Presley.
  • Design a poster that reflects Elvis's status as the “King of Rock and Roll.”
  • Create an acrostic poem about the life and career of Elvis Presley.


Ask students to define the term pop or cultural icon. Lead students to understand that a pop or cultural icon is a celebrity whose popularity remains constant or even increases as time goes by and even after their death. Tell students that in class today they will learn about one Mississippian who holds the status of pop icon. Ask students if they can name this Mississippian. You will probably have some students who suggest Elvis Presley. Ask students to suggest reasons why Elvis Presley is a pop icon. List the student responses in a web format on the chalk board or an overhead transparency.


  • Organize the class into groups of two or three. After organizing the groups, have each student copy the chart found below into their notebooks. After copying the chart, have students read the Mississippi History Now article on Elvis. After the students have completed the reading, instruct students to list on their charts what they think are five key events in the life of Elvis Presley. Students should also list the reason why each event was influential or significant in the life of Presley. Once the students have completed the chart ask student volunteers to share the information they have listed on the chart. As the students share their information, the teacher can record the events on the board. The teacher can lead a discussion about Presley's life as the students share their information.

The Life of Elvis Presley














  • Allow students to continue working in groups of two or three. Tell students that they are to design a poster that commemorates the career and life of Elvis Presley. Remind students that Elvis Presley was the “King of Rock and Roll” and the poster they design should reflect this status.

  • Allow students to share their posters with their classmates and/or display them in the classroom.


Staying with an artistic approach, have students write an acrostic poem about Elvis Presley. Remind students that to write an acrostic poem, they will write Elvis' name vertically. Students can use Elvis' full name (Elvis Aron Presley) or use just his first name (Elvis) or the title, “The King,” to write their poem. Each letter in the name or title will be used as a prompt to write a statement about the life and career of Elvis. After completing the poems, allow student volunteers to share their poems with the class.

Examples of acrostic poems:

E lvis revolutionizes pop music

H is birthplace is Tupelo, Mississippi



  1. Charts
  2. Class participation
  3. Posters
  4. Poems


  1. Students can write an essay explaining why Elvis Presley is considered the “King of Rock and Roll.”
  2. Students can make a timeline that lists Elvis' hit records and movies.
  3. Students can make a comparison timeline where they list key events in the life of Elvis and significant events in the country at that time as well.
  4. Allow students to create a radio show that celebrates the music of Elvis Presley.
  5. Allow students to organize a birthday party that celebrates the life and career of Elvis Presley.
  6. Through research, students can create a list of musicians that credit Elvis with influencing their careers and music.
  7. Allow students to research the musical heritage of Mississippi.
  8. Students can create a story book about the life of Elvis Presley.
  9. Students can take a field trip to the birthplace of Elvis, in Tupelo, Mississippi, and/or to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.