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                WebQuest:      PATRIOTIC THEMES IN COUNTRY MUSIC              
          Author:             Pam Petty         Grade Level:          5th - 8th

Introduction | Content Areas | standards2 | Implementation | Outline of Activities | Resources | Entry Skills | Evaluation | Variations | Conclusion


This lesson was developed by Dr. Pam Petty, Literacy Program, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky.  This WebQuest represents an example of how real-world applications can be made using technology and the Internet, specifically.  Music, like television, print media, etc., in reflecting our culture may contain topics and images that are controversial and may not be appropriate for classroom use.  Each teacher should use his or her own discretion in using this music.  The videos and music used in this WebQuest represent country music hits from approximately 10 years ago.  Again, this WebQuest serves as an EXAMPLE of how educators can use technology in curricular areas (in this example, social studies and language arts); educators may want to springboard from this topic and develop their own WebQuests reflecting music (art, drama, print media, etc.) appropriate for their students.  (See bottom of page for credits.) 

The students will be given examples of country music by various artists.  The music will be presented via CD's, videos, and hardcopies of lyrics.  Students will asked to evaluate the songs based on references to "symbols of freedom" of life in the United States of America.  On-line resources will be used to allow students to investigate the lives of the artists and the symbols of freedom identified in the music.  

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Content Areas and Grades
This lesson is appropriate for fifth and sixth grade social studies. The lesson is designed for the middle school level and can easily be extended to higher grades. Content is national symbols relating to freedom.  More specifically, students should be able to listen, view and read critically to determine messages that are transmitted via music. This lesson can also be implemented as an interdisciplinary unit with additional emphasis in  Language Arts.

   NCTE/IRA Standards

    3 - Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

    6 - Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

    8 - Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

    11 - Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.

    12 - Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).


Implementation Overview
This unit is designed to take 6-8 continuous classroom periods. This unit can be extended by examining other themes in country music, i.e., values, character, etc.  These lessons are designed for social studies and language arts integration. 
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Outline of Activities
  1. Internet Research - Each student is assigned an expert role. Assuming their role they will investigate facts about the country music, country music performers and the symbols of freedom identified in the music.  
  2. Evaluations - Each expert will use the information collected to identify symbols of freedom and life in the United States of America and the role that music plays in communicating ideas to people.  
  3. Group Discussion - All experts in the group will meet to share and discuss their findings.
  4. Group Decision - Groups will write a final report based on their findings.  
  5. Alternate Report Format (optional) - Students may also create a HyperStudio stack, Webpage, video, etc.. to present their point of view.
  6. Presentations - Students will present their finished product to the class.

        Teachers:  Click on each link below for complete daily 
         lesson plans for this unit of study.  

Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5

Related Literature:
Print Material Resources

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Resources Needed
Students will need access to:
  • Computers with Internet access for each student (ideally)
  • Printer
  • Microsoft Word (or other word processing program)
  • Microsoft Power Point or HyperStudio
  • Front Page, Front Page Express, or Netscape Composer
  • CD players, television with VCR

Optional Resources:

  • E-mail

Internet Links:

            3.  Ben's Guide to Symbols of  the United States

Human resources needed:

  • One teacher can teach the activities in this lesson. However, additional support from parents and TAs will help keep kids on task. Any outside resources are encouraged. Taking a field trip to the Country Music Museum or having a country music performer come and talk to the class would be helpful in understanding the history behind country music. This unit can also follow other curricular areas including value training.  
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Entry Level Skills and Knowledge
Students participating in this unit are expected to come with grade level skills in reading and writing. A general knowledge of computer operations and word processing skills would be helpful. Teachers need to have experience using the Internet, E-mail, Front Page or other web design programs, and presentation software (Power Point).  
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Teacher will evaluate based on the teams presentation of their findings. Evaluation will include accuracy of facts in the recommendations and supporting evidence. Both evaluations will be based on a 4 point rubric. Teachers may also choose to have students evaluate each other based on the persuasiveness of the presentation to the class.
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Possible Variations
This unit can be revisited using other types of music or art.  As students become more proficient in searching the Internet they can be instructed to research facts on their own.

After this unit is complete, teachers may encourage students to find other types of print media that reflect symbols of freedom or some other facet of our culture.  

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Upon completion of this unit students will have:
  • acquired factual information pertaining to symbols of freedom in the United States
  • analyzed this information to make a final report
  • produced a persuasive product to share with others the values of country music, the types of information transmitted via musical lyrics and visual images in music videos.  
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Ten years ago, I was lucky enough to take a course at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee with Dr. James E. Akenson.  The entire course involved using Country Music in social studies applications.  This course helped me look at the values of country music and to see ways of involving students in the critical analysis of music.  The lesson plans in this WebQuest were written to fulfill course requirements.  All the "Data Response Formats" (any categorical system which systematically directs students' attention to attributes of the data source under study) were based on Dr. Akenson's models.  It is a credit to Dr. Akenson that course requirements were such that students left with viable tools for teaching and the motivation to be creative.  


02/18/2007 02:12:51 PM   Hit Counter

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