by Heather Fawcett and Jessica Kelly
In Part 1 of “Making Alberta’s History Sing”, students were tuning in to topics for their folk song projects. Part 2 of the project challenges students to assert their research and questioning skills by compiling information on a chosen historical topic.
After a full day of exploring the various exhibits at the Glenbow, students had a variety of observations and questions about what they experienced. Through a teacher-led class brainstorm, everyone shared the topics that they found particularly interesting. The next step was to conduct some research into each of their options to see which stories had enough information available to support their song idea. Using guiding questions, students visited a variety of reliable digital resources including the Glenbow Museum archives.
Connecting with experts is an important step in the inquiry process, so visits by local musicians Tanner James and John E. Buckle were arranged. Working with actual musicians went even further in helping students acquire a sound understanding of what makes folk songs unique. In addition to answering students’ questions, each artist performed a variety of songs and explained how they take a song from conception through to completion. This co-constructed criteria of a folk song will become the basis for their own work.
The first phase of the “Sorting out” process will challenge students to construct a catchy chorus using a 5-8 sentence summary of the event. Students will liaise with our musical experts during this step since it will involve some sophisticated and specialized language skills and knowledge. From there, the students will develop the verses using relevant historical information gained through their research.