Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Literacy/Music/Cooking
- African-American poetry
- ingredients for spoon bread
- recorded music and player
Objective: Children will engage in a variety of activities to celebrate and learn about AfricanAmerican culture.
Poetry Experiences. To begin your Soulful Festival, collect a variety of African-American poetry books such as Pass It On: African-American Poetry for Children* selected by Wade Hudson (Scholastic Inc.; $3.98). Choose one or several poems to share with the children. Encourage them to act out the poems or clap out the rhythms.
Soul Food Snack. Many African-American recipes-- soul food-originated in southern United States. Share this one with children.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs (beaten)
In advance, preheat the oven to 375 deg F and mix the cornmeal and boiling water. Stir until smooth, then mix in butter and salt. Let cool. Invite the children to help you add the milk and eggs. Pour into greased casserole. Bake at 375 deg F for approximately 30 minutes. This recipe serves six, so you might have to adjust the ingredients accordingly. Serve with fruit juice. Remember: Never let children near boiling water.
Add Music! While the children are enjoying their "soulful" snack, treat them to music by AfricanAmerican artists. Some recordings you might consider are Joe Cool's Blues by Wynton and Ellis Marsailis (Sony/Columbia; CD: $11.97), Lead Belly Sings for Children by Lead Belly (Smithsonian Folkways; CD: $17.97), and several releases in the Music for Little People series, such as Big Blues (WEA/Atlantic/Rhino; CD: $15.97) and Choo Choo Bugaloo (WEA/Warner Brothers; CD: $15.97).
Literacy and Art: Folktales. Explain to children that folktales are stories that originally were not written down but were preserved through people telling the stories from one generation to the next. If possible, you can share with the children John Henry, a recording narrated by Denzel Washington with music by B.B. King (Madacy Records; CD: $7.97), which tells the story of the legendary African-American railroad worker. Invite children to close their eyes while they listen to this recording and to try to "picture" the events. Later, ask them to create illustrations for the story.