Teaching with Primary Sources

Duke Ellington: American Legend

Instructional Design

For Teachers

Duke Ellington: American Legend” aligns with Scholastic’s READ 180 rBook Workshop program unit entitled “The Streets of Harlem.”  The unit is designed to augment activities with the READ 180 program for middle school students, but adaptation to serve middle school language arts and music classrooms is both plausible and recommended.  The unit’s primary focus is on the acquisition and development of the reading skill “inference” and the awareness of “literary elements.”  The unit itself correlates with modern American History curriculum in that it discusses the development of African American high culture and serves as a brief supplement to the discussion of progression toward the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s.

Grade Levels:
7th and 8th

Time needed:
Three 45-minute periods

By studying the artifacts and primary sources found at the Library of Congress and the National Archives, students will be able to gain deeper insight into the career of Duke Ellington.

Students will first complete a reading guide for the Library of Congress' Duke Ellington webpage with a learning partner. Following the completion of the guide, students will get together in small groups of three students to create a poster for a potential Duke Ellington concert during the 1920's in Harlem, New York using the primary resources available on this website. Finally, students will each listen to one of the recommended tracks from the required Duke Ellington recordings ("Harlem Twist (East St. Louis Toodle-Oo)," "The Mooche" or "Harlemania"), and write out an original set of lyrics to go along with the track they have chosen.

Students will create both a set of lyrics for a Duke Ellington composition and a poster for a possible Duke Ellington concert.

Alignment with Standards:
IL.1 Goal:  Read with understanding and fluency.
IL.1.C Standard:  Comprehend a broad range of reading materials.
IL.1.C.3c : Compare, contrast and evaluate ideas and information from various sources and genres.
IL.2 Goal:  Read and understand literature representative of various societies, eras and ideas.
IL.2.A Standard:  Understand how literary elements and techniques are used to convey meaning.
IL.3 Goal:  Write to communicate for a variety of purposes.
IL.3.A Standard:  Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and structure.

Assessment and Evaluation:
Informal assessment will be based upon time on task and team cooperation. Formal assessment will use rubrics for the poster and song lyrics. The reading guide will also be formally assessed.

Materials Needed:
Duke Ellington: "Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra: Jungle Nights in Harlem (1927-1932)" CD
"Duke Ellington: "The OKeh Ellington" CD
5 or more computers
Reading guides
Poster paper

Cooperative Grouping:
Students will work in teams to create a poster for a possible Duke Ellington concert in Harlem during the 1920s.. They will work with partners to navigate the Library of Congress reading quest exercise. Cooperatives groups are automatically designated throughout the READ 180 program.

Individual Work:
Students will complete a set of their own lyrics to a Duke Ellington composition.



Governors State University - Teaching with Primary Sources Partner
E-mail Matthew J. Wdowiarz
Crete-Monee District 201u
Last Updated on December 5th, 2007