Yesterday I wrote Part 1 about my favorite biography, When Marian Sang.
Click here for yesterday’s summary.
So yesterday was part 1 of writing on this great book. Not to be terribly confusing, but today I want to start writing classroom ideas for this book, and then follow up with more ideas tomorrow.
Classroom Ideas for “When Marian Sang” Part 1
Utilizing the Songs
The song lyrics in this book range from spirituals, to patriotic, to Anderson’s powerful encore on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when she sang “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”
So, if you are in a a school situation where singing a spiritual song could pose a problem, you can skip them and stick with secular.
However, when I used this book, I gathered up all my courage and sang ALL of the songs to my students as I read. At first some of them giggled a little, but then they got over it. Some of them began to sing some of the songs with me. I think they enjoyed it because it was something different.
So I would encourage anyone to try your best to sing!
I mentioned this yesterday, but as you read the book you realize that the author has pieced together songs from her life that mirror the emotions of the events. So, those are wonderful discussion topics!
You can use the songs as poetry. You could also extend by having students bring in a song that represents an event in their life. Students can write about their connections and share.
If kids get really into writing about connecting lyrics with life events, you can have this as a choice in a writing station.
I feel like I say this with every book, but this book would be outstanding for working on themes. Like most books, there are many themes represented but, you could practice choosing one by having various themes written down, and then for each theme listing pieces of evidence that would prove the theme. You could make various Anchor T-Charts. Or, have students do their own and come back to discuss.
Courage –> Evidence
Endurance –> Evidence
Overcoming –> Evidence
All 3 of these themes would be strong, for this story, but you will have students who will throw out things like love or friendship. If you have those students really look for how many examples of evidence go with “love” you will come up weak, and that can help students learn to really dig into the text to find the overall theme.
So my final idea for the day is to leave you with just a few videos of Marian Anderson herself. Again, the kids may giggle for a second at her voice, because many of them are unfamiliar with this type of singing. I promise, once they get into it, they will stop their giggling and you’ll be able to hear a pin drop once the video is over.
Marian Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial
Marian Anderson singing “Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child” (this song is used in the book and a beautiful example of figurative language!)
Marian Anderson singing “Deep River”
I sure hope y’all will come back tomorrow for more ideas to use with this book!