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Abby Root
EDMT 380-002
Spring 2005


Project #1

Instructional Video Component

Program Title: Episode One: When First Unto This Country
Series: American Roots Music
Publisher: Palm Pictures, LLC.
Production Date: 2001
Program Length: 60 minutes
Subject Area(s):

Social Studies
Language Arts

Intended Audience: Not stated, but vocabulary and content seem suitable for upper elementary to adult viewers.
General Purpose: Not specifically stated. The video educates viewers on the origins of roots music in the United States, from its European and African descendants. It discusses the influence of the times, both socially and technologically, and the evolution of this music to the country, jazz, and blues music that is produced today.
Source: Acquired from the circulating video collection o the L. E. Phillips Memorial Library, Eau Claire, WI.

Wisconsin Model Academic Standards Addressed by Program
Language Arts Only

A.8.3: Read and discuss literary and nonliterary texts in order to understand human experience.
B.8.1 : Create or produce writing to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

The video introduces the viewers to music as a form of story. It traces American music genres such as spirituals, blues, country and gospel, back to their roots from our European and African influences. Viewers hear the sounds of "hillbilly" and "race" music and listen to the stories of different groups that popularized their regional music. Groups such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Carter Family are just a few that are highlighted. Current musicians give their testimony on the impact these historical songwriters had on music today.

Credibility/Content Reasoning:
The American Roots Music series is sponsored by well-known groups such as the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). It gives an unbiased account of factual events in our past and includes a number of personal testimonies as a way to provide the most accurate information.

The content is an educational background to the themes in the lesson. The teacher chose this video in order to provide the students with information on the origin of root music and to show how history and culture affect the themes musicians write about. The video discusses issues like slavery and religion. The different sounds and struggles of black singers and white singers resulted from the times they were in. It shows how musicians began to change their music with the development of radios and records. The video provides the viewers with an understanding that current events and issues were topics in the songs that were written during that time. The lesson uses the song "Barbara Allen," a piece of folk music with European ancestry that is well-known in the United States. After learning about the origins of folk music from the video, students will be able to talk about what influenced the song "Barbara Allen," and talk about its historical use. Students can identify songs that have lasted throughout the years because the themes of those songs are still relevant today. This will help the students write their own song lyrics using modern language and themes.


Lesson Use
(For an 8th grade class writing song lyrics)

Class Preparation
The teacher will ask some prompting questions to get the students prepared for the video. Some questions might be: "How does a song tell a story? What are some songs that have lasted through generations? What are some common themes from these songs?" The teacher will then introduce the video by telling the students that they will get a glimpse into some "American" music (or roots music) to see how they came about and what influenced their sounds and stories.

Viewing Details
This video can be shown in full depending on the teacher's preference. The entire film is an hour long, so in this case the teacher selected a portion from the first ten minutes in order to use it as a motivational tool for writing. This provides them with a little background on roots music and gets them thinking about a theme that they could write about. It shows how historical events and language can affect the words of songs they know.

The first ten minutes should be shown, up to the conclusion of the segment on the Fisk Jubilee Singers. After this is shown, the teacher will ask the students how the Fisk Jubilee Singers became popular. They will discuss why the group was unsuccessful when they sang choral ballads as opposed to singing the songs that traced back to slavery music. The students will identify other themes from the different music groups mentioned in the video segment. They will talk about which themes are still apart of music today, and what has been lost over the years.

Post Viewing Interactions
After the video and class discussion, the teacher will pass out the lyrics to the song "Barbara Allen." The class will read the song aloud. The teacher will then ask them questions like "What was the song Barbara Allen about? What are some themes of the song? What does it tell you about the time in which it was popular?" The class will discuss the themes and why some of those themes are still relevant today. They can identify songs they know that use these themes. They will then get the chance to choose a modern theme and write song lyrics that tell a story using modern language.


| Draft Lesson Plan | ITV Component | Topic Hotlist | Final Lesson Plan |

| Main | Project #1 | Project #2 |

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Page last updated 17-May-2005