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Musical Ancestries: Native America Lesson Prompts

Musical Ancestries™: Native America

Each Musical Ancestries episode, through the audio story and Prezi resources, provides a wealth of materials for teachers and parents to use at their discretion.  Shape the activity/lesson as you wish. Use bits and pieces of the resources as they fit into your plan or create something new. This is NOT a checklist of activities that must be followed or a curriculum that dictates how you use the resources.  The Prezi materials have been vetted for accuracy, authenticity, and child appropriateness so you don’t have to spend time doing so.

Students learn in various ways.  Some may benefit more from the story format and adventure and others from independent research. Some students need to see it, some need to hear it, some need to do it. We encourage you to use the audio story and Prezi resources to address the differing learning styles in your classroom.

     Lesson Prompts/Idea Board

Start Here

  • Preview Radio Broadcast Story/Audio Recording, Script, and/or Prezi of educational resources

Children’s Radio Story/Audio Recording

  • Play all or part of the Musical Ancestries: Native America Story/Audio Recording for the students
    1. Prep students for the story/audio recording by introducing select instruments and styles of music through the Prezi. Include vocabulary words/music words.
    2. As students listen to the story/audio recording, have them follow along with a Listening Map or create a listening map of their own.
    3. As students are listening to the audio story, project the script and have them follow along. You can also project photos from the Prezi of instruments and other images of note.
    4. After the listening exercise, ask students to write or talk about their choice of music, instruments, city/country, or traditions incorporating some of the vocabulary words/musical terms learned.

Prezi Educational Resources

  1. Delve deeper with your choice of materials and resources from the Prezi presentation.
    • Play samples of music from select styles/regions/countries and compare and contrast musical elements. What is the same and what is different?
    • Play “drop the needle” with music from the Prezi or audio recording. Have students try to identify the style, country or region based on the selected music samples. This could be across MA episodes, as well.
    • Learn the basics of Pow Wow drumming and try some of the beating patterns. (Find this in the Prezi: Native America>Culture>Pow Wows>Flag Songs, Honor songs, Memorial Songs> Pow Wow Drums>Do It)
  2. DANCE: Try the Jingle Dance.  (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Culture>Tribal Attire>Jingle Dress>Do It)
  3. DANCE: Try out the Women’s Shawl Dance and the Men’s Grass Dance. (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Culture>Pow Wows>Shawl and Grass Dances>Do It)
  4. Have a SCAVENGER HUNT through this episode or across other MA episodes. Keep it simple, not too detailed. Let the students explore.
    • Find the string, wind, or percussion instruments
    • Find the dances or the festivals
    • What other parts of the culture, in addition to music, do you see celebrated at festivals?
  5. CRAFTS: Have fun making very basic renditions of a bongo, shaker, and guira with Caribbean music playing in the background. (Find this in the Prezi: Cuba>Salsa>Do It)
    • Make Your Own Water Drum. (Find this in the Prezi: Native America>Music>Drumming>Water Drums>Yaqui Water Drum>Do It)
    • Make your own Hoop Drum out of household items. (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Music>Drumming> Hoop Drums)
    • Make a Shaker with household items. (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Music>Rattles and Shakers> Gourd>Do It)
    • Make your own Totem Pole. (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Culture>Totem Poles>Do It)
    • Learn beading techniques used on Native American clothing and how to make moccasins. (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Culture>Tribal Attire>Moccasins>See It)
  6. ELA (English Language Arts: Discussion/Journaling Points): Write It Out: Identify action words to describe how the conga masters play. (Find this in the Prezi: Cuba>Salsa>Do It> Write It Out)
    • What symbols, animals, or ideas are important to your culture or family and why? How do you use those on a regular basis? (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Music>Rattles and Shakers>Turtle Shell>Significance of the Turtle>Extend Your Thinking)
    • Do you play games similar to the Blanket Toss with your friends? What games are they and how do you win? If not, describe a game that you play and how you become the winner. (Find this in the Prezi: Native America>Regions>Arctic and Subarctic Regions>Blanket Toss>Extend Your Thinking)
    • The Turtle Island Creation Story in the Prezi comes from the Iroquois nation. What similarities does it have with the other creation stories you might know? Every nation has its own creation story. People in every culture have myths and legends about nature and how the world was created. Why do you think people have these kinds of stories? (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Culture>Pow Wows>Creation Story>Extend Your Thinking)
    • Why do you think animals are so important in Native American culture? How is this different from how non-indigenous people in North America think about and treat animals? If you constructed a totem pole to represent your family and you couldn’t use animals, what would you use and why? (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Culture>Totem Poles>Do It>Extend Your thinking)
    • In the section on Displacement and mistreatment of Native Americans, we talk about stereotypes. Did you have any untrue or partly untrue ideas about Native Americans before viewing the video or other parts of the presentation? How can stereotypes by harmful? (Find this in the Prezi: Native America> Culture>Displacement>Extend Your thinking)
    • On what continent will you find this country?
    • Compare the climate or seasons in this country or region with a similar climate/season in the U.S.
    • Does a country’s position on the globe impact its climate or seasons?
  8. THEATER: Assign parts and allow students to read/act out the story.
    • There can be two or three sets of cast members to include more students.
    • Have students plan what the scenes might be and the stage set-up. Draw a picture or make a diorama or do the real thing.
    • Create accompanying music similar to that of the audio recording using class instruments or use music from Prezi samples.

National Music Standards addressed: