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Musical Ancestries: The Caribbean Lesson Prompts

Musical Ancestries™: The Caribbean

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: The Caribbean 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. 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 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 country or region based on the selected music samples. This could be across MA episodes, as well.
    • Learn how to play the guira. (Find this in the Prezi: Dominican Republic>Merengue>Guira>Hear It)
    • Try some different tempos (tempi) and rhythms on the tambura. (Find this is the Prezi: Dominican Republic>Merengue>Tambora>Hear It)
    • Learn how to play rhumba clave and son clave. (Find this in the Prezi: >Cuba>Salsa>See It>Claves)
    • Learn the different rhythms of the bata drums. (Find this in Prezi: Cuba>Salsa>See It>Bata Drum)
    • Play along with the conga drum. (Find this in the Prezi: Cuba>Salsa>See It>Conga)
    • Compose your own song. (Find this in the Prezi: Cuba>Salsa>Do It>Compose Your Own)
  2. DANCE: Try some basic Merengue dance steps. (Find this in the Prezi: Dominican Republic>Merengue>Dance>Learn It)
  3. DANCE: Learn basic and advanced bachata dance steps. (Find this in the Prezi: Dominican Republic>Bachata>Bachata Dance>Watch 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. SCIENCE: Watch how a steel drum is made and discuss basic acoustical elements of creating the pitches. (Find this in the Prezi: Trinidad and Tobago>Steel Drums> Watch how a steel drum is made)
  6. 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)
  7. CRAFTS: Make a Junkanoo Hat while listening to Junkanoo Parade music. (Find this in the Prezi: Bahamas>Junkanoo Parade>Hear It/Do It)
  8. ELA (English Language Arts): 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)
  9. ELA (English Language Arts): Discussion/Journaling Points
    • Do Harry Belafonte’s views on racism, war and patriotism from the 1960s hold up today? (Find this in the Prezi: Trinidad and Tobago>Harry Belafonte>Watch Him)
    • Salsa and many of the instruments used to play it are Afro-Cuban. Can you think of any other cultural styles that were combined to create something new? (Find this in the Prezi: Cuba> Salsa>Do It>Extend Your thinking)
    • Junkanoo Parades have big contests and prizes. What categories would you have to win prizes and how would you judge them?
    • On what continent will you find this country?
    • Where is this country/region in relation to the USA?
    • Choose one of Cuba’s other cities to visit and list 3 reasons you might like to go there.
    • Compare the climate or seasons in this country or region with a similar climate/season in the U.S.
    • How does a country’s position on the globe impact its climate or seasons?
  11. 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: