Since a "picture is worth a thousand words", begin your Jazz and R & B unit with a history lesson at the Delta Blues Museum:
Tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Blues section to learn about artists who influenced the music genre, or learn about Langston Hughes and the Blues.
Preview video recordings from Jazz and R & B artists:
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
From there, view and discuss important milestones in Jazz with a timeline of the history of Blues and R & B. Then,in small groups, have students choose specific time frames and build timelines to hang in the classroom for visual references. Bring in as many children's books about Jazz and R & B artists as possible. Children's books use figurative language, so they are good models for students who need to incorporate imagery and senses into writings. Also, simply stated facts are easy to comprehend, find, and remember. In addition, the unit is perfect for introducing and working with quotes and citations.
Listen to the cd of Jazz Fly by Mathew Gollub, or watch a class interpret the text:
Students are ready to begin to write Scat, which brings patterns, rhyme, rhythm, and words to life. But, just what is Scat? It's a language of sounds, such as Za Zee Zay Za-baza, Boo-zaba, Zee-zah Ro-ni... Use the lesson plan Let's All Sing the Blues to introduce Scat writing. It's interactive and will have students' writing, singing, and moving!
For free supplemental resources, visit The Blues, a lesson plan unit from PBS, or download Jazz Notes: A History of Music in New Orleans.
Let's All Sing the Blues let's students create unique language combinations that are set to music while learning about the history of Jazz and R & B. It's fun for everyone...
Happy Jazz Month!