Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Celebrating Black History Month

In reviewing children's materials for a course last summer, I ran across an overwhelming number of materials related to the great Americans that created and elaborated on Jazz.  Since music is a universal language, wouldn't jazz make a great theme for lessons in February?  For a list of resources I've reviewed, be sure to read through my children's materials blog, here, and click the categories "Multicultural Picture Books" or "Coretta Scott King Award" for lists of suggested resources.  Please remember that most local public libraries offer teacher services.  Often, you can request materials from my list of suggested resources and the library staff can pull what they have in their collection for you to check out.  Most libraries offer teachers extended loan periods, typically 4-6 weeks.

The Smithsonian Institute's Museum of American History has a remarkable online jazz exhibit. Smithsonian Jazz (http://www.smithsonianjazz.org/) offers online jazz classes (like a Duke Ellington class), images of artifacts from the museum, and other rich resources.  In fact, you can search the Media Mix and listen to jazz from this portal.  The online exhibit is a collaboration with America's Jazz Heritage (a partnership of the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and the Smithsonian Institution) and the U.S. Department of Education.

Another often overlooked resource is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.  Their Teacher Lesson Plans page (http://www.freedomcenter.org/expand-your-knowledge/educator-resources/lesson-plans/) is overflowing with detailed lesson plans which can be used independent of a visit to the museum.  From the eLearning link, you can be connected to their On Demand Digital Video Collection and a link to podcasts to download from iTunes.

And last, but never least, the National Park Service has an online teacher resource they call Teaching with Historic Places.  During the month of February, their featured lesson plan is for using places to teach African American History.  Historic sites, from infamous to obscure, are included from this portal page: http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/feb00.htm.

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