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Grade 4 Folk Song Unit: Making Alberta's History Sing (Part 3: Sorting Out)

-by Heather Fawcett and Jessica Kelly

Through their guided research, students have compiled a wealth of information on an important element of Alberta's history. So, now what? Determining what information is important is a valuable research skill and this is what students are now doing. By giving students the challenge of creating songs, they must make some thoughtful decisions about what information is included in the lyrics. The success of their song hinges on their ability to extract the information that matters most, so sorting it all out is a crucial step in the process.

Students are beginning the song creation process by constructing their chorus. To support them in this crucial step, teachers have enlisted the help of two local singer/songwriters. Tanner James and John E. Buckle spent time working with students to help them construct their song's chorus. The conversations between students were not only helpful, but highly sophisticated. Students were using the language of historians as well as musicians.

Once students have a chorus, they will be building verses to further communicate the story of their historical topic. It should also be mentioned that students are being challenged to approach the story from different perspectives. Considering multiple perspectives is a main focus of the Alberta Social Studies curriculum, and the songs will honor at least two perspectives through their lyrics. How teachers will be assessing student learning will be topic of the next video.

1 comment:

Garry McKinnon said...

Heather and Jessica,
As you observe, selecting what information to highlight in the folk song causes your students to be very discerning and to focus on what is most important. It is great to have the video clip describing the learning experience and featuring the perspective of your folksinger, “outside experts” and the student comments.

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