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Smithsonian Institution
The Mississippi: River of Song

On-Line Teachers Guide

Developed with the Music
Educators National Conference

The Mississippi: River of Song presents rich opportunities for teachers and students of all ages and across many disciplines. In addition to the TV and radio programs, companion materials will provide access to a wealth of additional music selections, interviews, images, commentary and links to related resources. These include a companion book from St. Martin's Press, a 2-CD set from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and a teachers guide developed by the MENC, the Music Educators National Conference.
       Teachers are allowed to tape the TV series off-air for one year and the full teachers guide will be available to at no cost through this website beginning in November 1998.
       The teachers guide has been developed by music educators in collaboration with educators representing other disciplines, including social studies and geography. The guide will emphasize cross-disciplinary teaching opportunities through which students can explore:
  • the geography of the Mississippi Valley, from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico;
  • the diverse cultural heritage of the nation, from Ojibwe, Scandinavians and Hmong in Minnesota to African American, French and Spanish immigrants in Louisiana;
  • the role of music and other art forms in maintaining and articulating ethnic and cultural identity across generations;
  • the evolution of genres from bluegrass to zydeco; and
  • the impact of political, social and economic trends on the creation of music and other art forms.
Lesson plans will include clear, practical advice on materials, preparation, procedures and evaluation:
  • program summaries for each of the four television programs;
  • strategies for teaching with video;
  • cross-disciplinary learning objectives for each lesson;
  • student-centered activities that encourage authentic learning;
  • writing and research activities; and
  • discussion questions that promote critical thinking skills.
Go directly to the Teachers Guide.

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