Elementary Programs Chapter

By Laura Douglas and Stacey Irish-Keffer

Section 8: Caboose: Stories about Art and Music

Section 8: Caboose: Stories about Art and Music

It’s the end of the line. Hop on board the caboose and use the suggestions in this last section to plan programs about art and music. Happy trails!

Bulletin Board

Clipart - Text on side of Engine says 'Stories about Arts and Music' on top and 'The Reading Express'on bottom. One person is waving through a top window, the other two windows show art work

Featured Book

Ruby Sings the Blues by Niki Daly.

Books to Display:

Jazz by Walter Dean Myers.

Music by Neil Ardley.

Rubber-Band Banjos and a Java Jive: Projects and Activities on the Science of Music and Sound by Alex Sabbeth.

Those Amazing Musical Instruments: Your Guide to the Orchestra Through Sounds and Stories by Genevieve Helsby.

Introduction of Featured Book

Show the cover of the book, and ask the children what they think the story is about. Does anyone listen to music? Who likes to sing? Does anyone play an instrument? Play some samples of jazz music from Even Kids Get the Blues by the Re-Bops, Kids Get the Blues, Too/Blues for Beginners by Brother Yusaf, or another album. Ask the children what they notice about the music.

Read

Ruby Sings the Blues by Niki Daly.

Discussion

Ask questions about the story, such as the ones below, to start a short discussion of the book.

“What causes problems for Ruby?”

“How does Miss Nightingale try to lower Ruby’s voice?”

“Who teaches Ruby to sing?”

“How does Ruby feel about her voice at the end of the story?”

Nonfiction Topic: Singers and Music

Use the World Book Encyclopedia, nonfiction books, and web sites to find facts about the nonfiction connections. Use some of the audiobook versions of jazz related picture books to share information about music and musicians.

Singers and Music

There are many different types of singers and music. Play a selection that is the blues. Show pictures and discuss some of the instruments mentioned in the book, like the saxophone, piano, guitars, and drums. Saxophones are a wind instrument, which means air is used to make sound. Pianos make sound when the player’s fingers hit keys that strike steel strings. The sound comes from the mallets or small hammers that hit a particular metal string inside the piano. Other instruments used in the blues are guitars and drums. Show pictures of these various kinds of instruments from Music by Neil Ardley or another nonfiction book.

Audio Recordings

Jazz by Walter Dean Myers.

John Coltrane's Giant Steps by Chris Raschka.

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt.

Crafts

Microphones

(Adapted from Craft Bits by Stacey Irish-Keffer.)

Materials
  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Aluminum foil
  • Duct tape
  • Yarn
  • Markers
  • Stickers
  • Streamers or yarn (optional)

microphone with an aluminum foil microphone, and the base is decorated with red tape, green butter fly, and red cat for decoration, the microphone has a blue cord that is held together with blue painter's tape

Directions

Distribute the tubes and other supplies to the children. Decorate the toilet paper tube using markers, tape, and stickers. Crumple a sheet of aluminum foil into a ball that is large enough to fit on top of the tube. Secure the foil ball with duct tape to one end of the toilet paper tube. Children can then glue on tape streamers or yarn for the wires, if desired.

Web Sites

PBS Jazz

http://pbskids.org/jazz/

This interactive web site offers games and activities that encourage children to explore jazz.

Professional Resources

Big Apple History

http://pbskids.org/bigapplehistory/parentsteachers/arts_lesson9.html

This PBS site provides lesson plans for use with grades 4-8, but many of the ideas can be adapted for younger elementary school children.

Louisiana State Museum Jazz Collection

http://lsm.crt.state.la.us/collections/jazz.htm

This site provides information about jazz and its musicians, along with photographs of instruments and people.

Featured Book

Zomo the Rabbit by Gerald McDermott.

Books to Display:

Africa by Andrew Solway.

Africa by Yvonne Ayo.

Anansi Does the Impossible!: An Ashanti Tale by Verna Aardema.

Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together by Herb Shoveller.

Introduction of Featured Book

Show the cover of the book, and ask the children what they think the story is about. Talk about trickster tales. What are trickster tales? What animals appear as tricksters? Rabbit is a popular trickster in African folklore but other cultures have other animals that are tricksters. Ask one of the children to help you find Africa on a map or globe. Show how far Africa is from Texas.

Read

Zomo the Rabbit by Gerald McDermott.

Discussion

Use questions about the story like the following ones to start a short discussion of the book.

“What three things must rabbit do to earn wisdom?”

“What happens to Rabbit after he gets these three things?”

“Does Rabbit finally earn wisdom?”

“What are some of the things we might have to do to earn wisdom?”

Nonfiction Topics: African Music and African Drums

Use the World Book Encyclopedia, nonfiction books, and web sites to find facts about the Nonfiction connections.

African Music

Music is used for many things in Africa from singing a lullaby to being an important part of an elaborate village festival. A farmer might sing a song to encourage his crops to grow or herders and hunters separated by long distances will blow on flutes to send coded messages. There are many different kinds of musical instruments from ceremonial drums to rattles made of bark. Show examples of musical instruments from Africa. If it is not possible to show actual instruments then show photographs. Instruments include bells, kalimbas, shakers, drums, flutes, rain sticks, and more. Low cost instruments for children can be purchased from African Treasures, http://www.africantreasures.com/musical-instruments/just-for-kids.asp.

African Drums

African drums are made from many different materials. Some are simply animal skins stretched over cooking pots, while others are elaborately carved and decorated instruments. Some are small enough to be tucked under one arm, while others are as tall as the drummer. Drums are usually carved from a solid piece of wood. Each type is designed to create a specific sound. While all make music, some drums also have ceremonial significance. Children often make drums from anything they can find from old cans or oil drums. Show pictures from Africa by Yvonne Ayo, pages 60-61, or from a web site that has photographs.

Reader’s Theater

The Adventures of Mouse Deer

The script for this trickster tale from Indonesia and Malaysia is available from Aaron Shepard, http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/RTE35.html. Like Brer Rabbit and Anansi, Deer Mouse is a tricky one!

Crafts

Paper Plate Tambourine

(Adapted by Stacey Irish-Keffer from Family Crafts.)

Materials
  • Paper plates
  • Dried lima beans or split peas
  • Markers or crayons
  • Scraps of paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Staplers

paper plate tamborine, two plates stapled , the center is decorated with a blue diamond in the middle. The blue diamond is inside a large red circle, and the red circle has green ring around it

Directions

Distribute two uncoated paper plates to each child. Decorate the bottom of each plate with markers, crayons, scraps of paper, and other craft supplies. Staple the edges of the plates together with the bottom sides facing out. Leave a small opening to insert the beans or peas. Pour a handful of dried beans in and staple the remaining opening closed. Shake the tambourine to hear how it sounds.

African Drums

A more advanced craft, using recycled plastic cups to create African drums, can be found at DLTK, http://www.dltk-kids.com/World/africa/mdrum.htm.

Guest Speakers

Invite a drummer or drum group to perform. One option is Drums Not Guns, Instruments of Mass Percussion, http://drums.org. The group, which includes drumming communities in Texas, is dedicated to spreading peace through drumming. The web site also includes the history of West African drumming and contact information for drum circles, drum classes, and drum teachers.

Professional Resources

A Ring of Tricksters: Animal Tales from America, the West Indies, and Africa by Virginia Hamilton.

Featured Book

The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel.

Books to Display:

Clay by Cheryl Jakab.

Pottery by Phyllis Raybin Emert.

The Pottery Place by Gail Gibbons.

Introduction of Featured Book

Show the cover of the book, and ask the children what they think the story is about. This book is based on the true story of Juan Quezada, a potter. Ask the children questions about making pottery such as the following.

“Have you ever tried to make a pot or work with clay?”

“The story takes place in Mexico and the rhyme is much like the more familiar, House that Jack Built. Do you remember that rhyme?”

Show the children where to find Chihuahua, Mexico on a map.

Read

The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel.

Discussion

Use questions about the story like the following ones to start a short discussion of the book.

“Who did Juan teach to make pottery?”

“What does Juan use for fuel to fire his pots?”

“How does Juan polish his pots?”

Nonfiction topic: Pottery

Use the World Book Encyclopedia, nonfiction books, and web sites to find facts about the Nonfiction connections.

Pottery

Pottery is a type of decorative or useful item made from baked clay. It can include expensive works of art created by professional potters, as well as items made for household use by amateur potters. Show pictures of different kinds of pottery. The most basic technique for making a pot is coiling. Clay is rolled out like a snake and then coiled around a base. The ends of the clay are pinched together to make a smooth shape. Demonstrate the coiling technique or show pictures of the process. Since ancient times, potters have shaped and fired, or baked, clay to harden it.

Crafts

Make Your Own Playdough

(Adapted by Stacey Irish-Keffer from Alphabet Soup.)

Materials
  • Flour (1/2 cup per child)
  • Salt (1/4 cup per child)
  • Warm water (1/4 cup per child)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Plastic bowls
  • Small bathroom cups
  • Drink cups
  • Ziploc baggies
  • Craft sticks
Directions

In advance, measure out the flour into small bowls and the salt into small cups (½ cup of flour and ¼ cup of salt will make ½ cup of play dough). Prepare enough for each child to make their own recipe. Distribute one bowl of flour, one small cup of salt, and one large empty cup for water to each child. Pour ¼ cup of warm water into the larger cups. Pour the salt into the cup and stir with the craft stick for one minute. Pour the salted water into the bowl of flour and stir until it becomes dough-like. For colored dough, add a few drops of food coloring until the desired color is attained. Knead the dough with fingers until it is a good consistency. Store the dough in a Ziploc baggy and the dough will stay moist and useable for several days.

Guest Speakers

Invite a local potter to demonstrate potting techniques and work with the children on simple projects.

Professional Resources

Arts Work

http://artswork.asu.edu/cec/les02/2_03_coil.htm

The University of Arizona shows how to do traditional pottery construction, using Mata Ortiz pottery in its examples.

Make a Clay Pot

http://www.leeandlow.com/p/hs-potthatjuan.mhtml

This activity, created for use with The Pot That Juan Built, can be done with self-hardening clay or clay that must be baked in an oven.

Mata Ortiz Pottery

http://www.mataortiz.com/mata/mata10.htm

This web site features pottery by Juan Quezada and other Mexican potters. Print out a few examples to serve as inspiration.



Texas Reading Club 2010 Programming Manual / Catch the Reading Express!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011