April 23rd, 2003
Following Muddy's Trail
Procedures for Teachers

Prep

Media Components

Computer Resources:

  • Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.
  • Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows® 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM and/or Macintosh computer: System 8.1 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM.
  • Software: Any presentation software such as Power Point or Hyperstudio (optional)

Bookmarked sites:

Bookmark all of the Web sites used in the lesson and create a word processing document listing all of the links to distribute to students. Preview all of the sites and videos before presenting them to your class.

  • AMERICAN MASTERS Web Site about Muddy Waters
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/waters_m_homepage.html
    This site, the Web companion to the AMERICAN MASTERS film about Muddy Waters, features film clips, essays, a timeline, and an interview with the filmmaker.

  • Chicago and the “Great Migration” by James Grossman
    http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/iht329633.html
    This essay explores the mass movement of black Southerners to the north during and after World War I. It focuses on the determination, need, and desire to leave, the journey itself, and settling in black communities of northern cities. Students will read this essay as part of their research about the Great Migration to Chicago.

  • “The Blues: The Story Behind The Music That Defined the Century” by Robert Santelli
    http://www.handyawards.com/1999/program/behindthemusic.html
    This essay will help the students make the connection between the Great Migration, the importance of the Illinois Central Railroad, and the influence of Muddy Waters on other artists and musicians.

  • How the Blues Affected Race Relations in the United States
    http://www.jessicagrant.net/thesis/overview.html
    This Web site explores the role of the Blues in race relations together and improved their relationship in the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century.

  • Blank Map of the United States
    http://www.eduplace.com/ss/maps/pdf/us_nl.pdf
    Make copies of this blank map of the United States for the “Muddy Waters Scavenger Hunt” activity. Note that this is a PDF file that requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download it free here.

The following is a listing of Web sites students can use in the Introductory Activity to find out information about Muddy Waters.

Materials:

Teachers will need the following supplies:

  • Board and/or chart paper
  • Handouts of Web resources if computers are not available in the classroom

Students will need the following supplies:

  • Computers with the capacities indicated above
  • Notebook or journal
  • Pens/pencils
  • Copies (one per student) of a map of the Mississippi Delta, which can be found at http://thebluehighway.com/deltamap.html.

Steps:

Introductory Activity:

1. Before viewing the AMERICAN MASTERS film about Muddy Waters, break the students up into groups of 2 to 3 for a Web-based scavenger hunt. They will search for information about the history of slavery and about Muddy Waters’ life so that they understand Waters’ background while watching the first part of the film. Distribute copies of the “Muddy Waters Scavenger Hunt” handout to each group and a blank map of the United States that they will be able to write on and use as a reference. This can be found at http://www.eduplace.com/ss/maps/pdf/us_nl.pdf, a site that features printable map outlines for classroom use. The students should work for about 30-45 minutes on this activity and then come together as a whole class to share their information for the last 15 minutes of the class.

The terms they will look for are:

  • sharecropper
  • juke joint
  • origin of Muddy Waters’ nickname
  • Delta guitar
  • Rolling Stone Magazine and the Rolling Stones – what is their connection to Muddy Waters?
  • “bottleneck” style of guitar accompaniment
  • Alan Lomax
  • Robert Johnson
  • Chess Records
  • slide guitar

Students will need to explain why the following places are important and then locate them on a map, which can be found at http://thebluehighway.com/deltamap.html.
Make sure each group has a copy of the map.

  • Mississippi Delta
  • Rolling Fork, Mississippi
  • Clarksdale, Mississippi

2. Tell students that for their culminating project they will create a travel package and brochure focusing on the migration of Blues music from the Mississippi Delta to the city of Chicago.

3. Distribute the AMERICAN MASTERS: Muddy Waters Organizer and go over the questions with students. Let them know that these questions will also come into play in their final project. If students already have some ideas about the questions (from the scavenger hunt), allow some time for discussion.

  • Muddy Waters’ birthplace and childhood – What was it like and where did it take place? What experiences affected his music?
  • Why did Chicago become the new home to the Blues?
  • Which important forms of transportation and roads were critical to this migration?
  • Which neighborhoods did Muddy Waters and other Blues musicians settle in?
  • Who were Muddy Waters’ major influences and/or employers in Chicago?

4. Students will now watch the AMERICAN MASTERS film about Muddy Waters.

Learning Activities:
After watching the program, students will conduct research on the Internet and read about the Great Migration to Chicago from 1920 to 1970. Using the information they have gathered, they will trace the journey of Blues music from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago.

1. Have students read Chicago and the “Great Migration” by James Grossman. This is an essay about the mass movement of black Southerners to the north during and after World War I. The essay focuses on the determination, need, and desire to leave, the journey itself, and settling in black communities of northern cities.

Students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is the Great Migration?
  • When did it occur?
  • Why did it take place?
  • What was The Chicago Defender and what was its role in the Great Migration?
  • What was the role of the Illinois Central Railroad in the Great Migration?

These questions are available in a note-taking organizer. Students should review the questions with each other before they begin the reading.

2. After answering these questions, students will read “The Blues: The Story Behind The Music That Defined the Century” by Robert Santelli. This essay will help the students make the connection between the Great Migration, the importance of the Illinois Central Railroad, and the influence of Muddy Waters on Blues music and other artists.

Culminating Activity/Assessment:

1. The students are now ready to put together their travel package and brochure. The tour is geared toward history and music buffs interested in tracing the migration of Blacks from the South to Chicago and following the musical heritage of the Blues. Distribute the Performance Rubric and make sure students understand each of the criteria listed.

2. Remind the students of the questions and information that they will need to include in their tour package.

  • Muddy Waters’ birthplace and childhood – What was it like and where did it take place? What experiences affected his music?
  • Why did Chicago become the new home of the Blues?
  • Which important forms of transportation and roads were critical to this migration?
  • Which neighborhoods did Muddy Waters and other Blues artists settle in?
  • Who were Muddy Waters’ major influences and/or employers in Chicago?
  • The packages must include visits to the following locations.
  • Maxwell Street
  • Blues Heaven, former site of Chess Records and now a Blues museum
  • A place to go listen to real Blues music one evening
  • A place to see Muddy Waters memorabilia
  • Other items to include:
  • Length of tour
  • Cost of tour
  • Room and board

3. Share examples of different types of tour packages to give students an idea of the style and language. The following resources will offer a variety of presentation ideas without taking ideas away from related materials. Remind students that they must provide reasons for each of the places that the tour participants will visit.

Once students have perused the different tour packages, they can start brainstorming about the content and the style of presentation in their groups. Set aside several class periods for students to complete their work or assign it for homework.

4. Finally, students will present their tour packages to the rest of the class. Make sure that everyone participates in the presentation.

  • If students are presenting their information in brochure form, inform them that they are responsible for providing copies to everyone in the class.
  • If students have created an interactive multimedia brochure, make sure that you have a projector so that the entire class can watch the presentation.

Cross-Curricular Extensions:

  • Music – Students can learn how to compose and perform their own Blues songs.
  • Science – Students can learn how to create slide guitars. In the AMERICAN MASTERS film, Muddy Waters even used the side of his home to create one because he could not afford other materials. Encourage students to be creative in choosing materials to construct the instrument.
  • Take a field trip to a local Blues club and then interview musicians and singers about their musical influences.

Inside This Lesson

Salinger

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