The Mississippi Blues Trail attracts blues fans from around the globe who are seeking a deeper understanding of the musical style that lies at the base of so many other forms of music. By drawing upon the tremendous amount of content on the individual markers, the Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum project brings the blues to the classroom, where today’s youth can learn more about this original art form as well as of the experiences of the men and women behind the music.
How to use this Curriculum in the classroom
The curriculum is based in an arts-integrated approach to learning. It is divided into six core areas: Music, Meaning, Cotton, Transportation, Civil Rights and Media. Three lesson plans are included for each core area, totaling 18 lessons. Ideally, a teacher will use the curriculum as a semester-long project (4 months), sharing one lesson per week. However, the curriculum is written so that lessons can be taught individually.
This curriculum was written with 4th grade Mississippi History students in mind. The frameworks and standards listed at the beginning of each lesson (Mississippi Studies, National Standards and Common Core), are specific to the 4th grade, but teachers can easily modify lessons to be taught through the 12th grade. The Mississippi Blues Trail website is an excellent resource for the curriculum, which includes images of the front and back of all markers, expanded content, maps, original films and more. A search function allows for easy exploration of themes, such as railroads or cotton. Teachers utilizing electronic tablets or smartphones may consider downloading the Mississippi Blues Trail app.
Media samples, including interviews, field recordings, songs and videos, are included for each lesson in the Resources section of the Appendix. Teachers are encouraged to utilize libraries and the Internet for supplemental media. Teachers may consider partnering with a music specialist for the Music section of the curriculum.
The MS Blues Trail Curriculum is a project of the Mississippi Arts Commission, made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Audio and video links correspond with “II Media Resources” in the back of the Teacher's Guide.
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