Author: Jennifer Paratto Motsney
S. Weir Mitchell Elementary
Grade Level: 1-4
This unit introduces primary age students to the many African American musical genres,
as well as the history behind the music. The unit is intended for a second grade
classroom, but may be adapted to primary grade students in grades 1 through 5. The
exposure to African American music and history is the purpose for the unit. The intended
student population does not receive many opportunities to explore these areas both in and
out of the classroom. The goal of this unit is for the students to understand the history of
African American music and become familiar with popular genres of the past and
present. The students will achieve this goal through various strategies, lessons and
activities. This unit will supplement the Philadelphia School District’s core curriculum
for social studies and literacy. During this four to six week unit, the students will
participate in various activities aligned with the state standards and the curriculum.
These activities will include reading, writing, and research, listening and speaking.
The unit will focus on African American music starting during slavery through the
present day rap and hip-hop. During this unit, the students will focus on the
distinguishing characteristics of African American musical genres, become familiar with
famous African American musicians from the genres, and explore their own musical
preferences in comparison with that of their parents and/or family members’ musical
styles of their youth.
Download Unit: 11.05.05-1.pdf