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Black History Month in Music Class

Looking for a few new ideas to try to celebrate Black History Month in Music Class?  Try some of these ideas for decorating and planning engaging musical lesson plans.

You probably know that I'm a big fan of decorating with a theme.  One of my favorite bulletin boards for February is "All That Jazz" and it features some amazing contributors to the world of jazz.  I like the black and white pictures paired with the colorful backgrounds.  Popular jazz musicians like Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Charlie Parker, Jelly Roll Morton and more are highlighted.  Get it HERE.

 Jazz Musicians Bulletin Board

 Jazz Musicians Bulletin Board

Listen, Learn and Love
Although I try to incorporate a wide variety of listening experiences through out the year I always worry that it isn't diverse enough.  I love taking a little extra time to explore the music of some famous African Americans.  If you've been reading my blog, you know that I am a BIG fan of listening glyphs.
Listening glyphs allow students to demonstrate their musical understanding in such a fun way that they may not even care that it is an assessment!  I love this set of Black History Listening Glyphs.  Not only do they contain ways to assess students' understanding of what they hear, they also have a short description of the musician.  I think this helps students connect with the artist and it is a great tool to help them retell what's going on in music class when they get home.  

 Black History Month Listening Glyphs - Will Smith
What's different about these glyphs is that a variety of genres are represented.  Jazz, blues, rock and roll, hip hop, pop and opera are all represented in this set.  

 Black History Month Listening Glyphs - Nat King Cole    Black History Month Listening Glyphs - Aretha Franklin

 Black History Month Listening GLyphs - Queen Latifah     Black History Month Listening Glyphs - Michael Jackson

Mix it Up
I love this Jazz Mixer presented by Smithsonian Folkways.  Although I would present this on my Smartboard, it would also work on iPads or laptops as part of a workstations rotation.

 By adjusting the sliders, students can focus on one instrument or mix their own variations.  Three songs are available for student experimentation: "Bill Bailey", "St. Louis Blues" and "When the Saints Go Marchin' In".  Clicking on the instruments brings up a brief description and clicking on Timeline pulls up a fabulous timeline of artists and events that shaped jazz music.

Sing Me a Story, Read Me a Song
There are SO many great books to use to celebrate the rich musical heritage of our great nation.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Follow the Drinking Gourd
Read it.  Sing it.  Put it in your reading workstation because kids will want to read it again and again.

Max Found Two Sticks
Wow!  Love this book!  I give students drum sticks or chopsticks (much quieter and a novelty for the students).  As we read through the story they will imitate the sounds that Max's sticks make with their own.  Often we will warm up by echo playing rhythms.

Love this story of Dizzy Gillespie.  If you can, get the audio file to go with it.  LOVE it!

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop
Love this story!  I read it to 1st graders and we add the "be bop, be bop" with the story.  Later we will sing "Scat Like That" by Greg and Steve.  So much fun!

I hope that these ideas will inspire you to try something new during Black History Month!

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1 comment:

  1. These are wonderful ideas! Listening Glyphs are a brand new thing to me, but I absolutely LOVE them :)