i see the rhythm

35 min.

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Wonder of the Day #1997

Who Was Langston Hughes?


Appreciate origin of unique American music through African-American experience and history

Big Idea

Music is poetry. Poetry is universal.

The book i see the rhythm by Toyomi Igus with paintings by Michele Wood is broken into historical segments:

Origins - Africa 1500-1740
Slave Songs - 1776-1861
Birth of the Blues - 1863-1912
Ragtime - 1890-1920
Jazz Beginnings- 1895-1923
Sounds of Swing - 1924-1935
Tribute to Jazz Women - 1920-1939
Be Bop - 1939-1956
Cool Jazz - 1949-1957
Spirit of Gospel - 1932-1960
Rhythm and Blues/Soul - 1953-1967
Black Rock - 1955-1969
Funk- 1967-1976
Rap/Hip Hop - 1970 -present

I see the rhythm

Introduce the entire book as a "picture walk" tour of each era and significant historical dates

Break each of the 14 historical segments into 15 minute explorations to be covered, ideally throughout National Poetry Month. Share the daily poems featured at Poets.org

--Read the i see the rhythm poems and listen to musical clips from each era. Ask students to move to the music and explore the different ways their bodies can respond to the rhythms. How does what something sounds like connect to what it feels like?

--Use a roll of butcher paper and markers to create a timeline, marking each period and having students add vocabulary words, people, and events to the appropriate era as you discuss them. As students read the book on their own, have them add other key words they come across.