Monday, August 3, 2009

Ambleside Online -- Folk song study

Last year I really took a dive into Ambleside Online and used the site for our history, reading, science, and a few other snippets. This year, we will include more of the sources they recommend in our Friday studies -- Folk songs, artists, composers, Plutarch, etc.

A few posts here will compile the resources that I find or gather recommendations for so that others and myself can find it all in one spot.

Each term Ambleside assigns a folk song for learning and study. Now, some folk songs I think we will skip over, and since there are plenty to choose from, instead of doing the one assigned for this year (the Jam on Gerry's Rocks), I want to cover the one from last year that we didn't get around to, Follow the Drinking Gourd. I have a book by this title, know something of its background, and think it will fit in well with our study of Early American history as well.

This You Tube video has the song and some interesting video and images to go along with it:

Another rendition of Follow the Drinking Gourd might be easier to sing along to, but I found the accompanying images somewhat fuzzy.

One more rendition that came recommended. Interspersed in this song, the musician includes explanations of the era, slavery, and some of the references in the song.

A book to accompany the song study:
Following the Drinking Gourd- written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

A lesson plan with some activities to help in the teaching of Follow the Drinking Gourd

I have not seen it personally, but if you can find this video, it has been enjoyed by others in this study. (I just put it on hold at my library)

If you want to print out the lyrics and sing along, you can do that as well.

Apparently, Five in a Row uses this book and you can find links to those who have used their materials to study this book, the issue of slavery, and the appropriate time period as well:
  • The Home School Mom shares a number of links (referencing FIAR)
  • An educator's guide to the book shares the meaning of the lyrics as well as other background information.
  • This teacher's guide on the Follow the Drinking Gourd website shares interesting background into the history of the song itself. Interesting to note that one of the oft sung lines references freedom, and was not part of the original, but added in the mid-1900s. Obviously a slave could not have safely sung those words without repercussions.

Videos, books, activities, sounds like we have some full Friday music classes ahead of us, and I haven't even gotten to the composer study!

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