Africans and African Americans in Early New Orleans

Grade Level: Secondary

Students will analyze documents regarding Africans and African Americans in early colonial New Orleans.


Bomba, designed by Sandra Sanchez, University of Miami

Grade Level: Primary

This lesson focuses on the African influences found in Puerto Rico’s musical culture by studying bomba music.


Congo Square

Music Rising, Tulane University and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South


Congo Square, Collective Improvisation, Clave Rhyth

Grades: K-2, 3-5

Students will learn the history of Congo Square in New Orleans; gain an understanding of systems of slavery and the Code Noir; sing, dance, and demonstrate a clave rhythm, a tradition in Congo Square.


Caribbean Beats and Blends, designed by Patricia S. Campbell, University of Washington

Grade Level: Secondary

Students will learn about Caribbean peoples, languages, geographies, and values by singing and playing instruments to Caribbean music. There is a particular focus on Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, and St. Lucia.


Examining Colonial-Era Census Records Objectives

Grade Level: Secondary

Students will examine statistics from census records and respond to questions about the documentation of early inhabitants of the colony


Exploring Primary Sources: Music in New Orleans

Grade Level: Middle - Secondary

Students will identify and evaluate primary and secondary about the history of New Orleans music.


First Meeting of the Indians and the Europeans

Grade Level: Middle

Louisiana Voices: An Educator’s Guide to Exploring Our Communities and Traditions. Baton Rouge: Louisiana Division of the Arts.


Having Our Say: The Music of the Mardi Gras Indians, designed by: Erica Watson, University of Memphis.

Grade Level: Secondary

This lesson introduces students to the culture and music of Mardi Gras Indians by examining the tradition and its culture-bearers, listening to and analyzing Mardi Gras Indian music, and examining the cultural influences that contributed to the tradition.


Jazz and Marching Bands

Grade Level: Secondary

Students will learn about the early days of jazz in New Orleans and compare early New Orleans marching bands to contemporary marching bands.


Mapping Early Colonial New Orleans

Grade Level: Secondary

Students will analyze maps from the French period to determine the city’s growth and development.


Musical Gumbo: A Whole Lotta Creole, Cajun and Zydeco Goin’ On, designed by Elaina Malcolm

Grade Level: Primary

This unit of study is intended to develop student knowledge of the Creole influence on the music of various countries in the Americas: French Guiana, Surname, and the United States. Students will enjoy experiences in listening, singing and playing on instruments, and they will learn to study how different groups of people have influenced one another.


Music of Cuba & the Caribbean, designed by Roberta L. Stafford, Pennsbury School District

Grade Level: Primary

Students will learn and perform the songs “Guantanamera,” and “Caribbean Carnival” with improvisation.


National Museum of American History

The New Orleans Beginning 1901 – 1922


New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park


New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)

African Art at NOMA Educator’s Resource


Preservation Hall Lessons, Preservation Hall Foundation, New Orleans

Grade Levels: All


New Orleans: The Birthplace of Jazz

Grade Level: Middle


New Orleans Genres and Origins

Grade Level: Middle


Spirits Across the Ocean: Yoruban and Dahomean Cultures in the Caribbean Brought by the Slave Trade, designed by: Joseph Galvin, Indiana University, Bloomington

Grade Level: Secondary

Students will explore the forced migration of the trans-Atlantic slave trade from the Yoruban and Dahomean cultures to the Caribbean and learn the similarities of the music found in the countries Haiti, Cuba, Trinidad, and Brazil.


The Birth of an Icon: Learning and Performing the Origins of the Drum Set and Early Jazz Drumming in New Orleans, Louisiana, designed by Matthew R. Berger

Grade Level: Adaptable

The drum set, now an international cultural icon, owes much of its popularity to the development of jazz in New Orleans. This lesson provides an introduction to drum set history and teaches students to perform preliminary New Orleans brass band and early jazz drumming rhythms.


The Fifteenth Amendment & Congo Square, by Amy Cohen

Grade Level: Secondary

Students will examine the painting The Fifteenth Amendment, set on the edges of Philadelphia’s upscale Washington Square. They will be introduced to the surprising history of this park, including its use as a potter’s field, a mass grave, and a gathering place for African Americans –similar in many ways to Congo Square in New Orleans. After reading poetry inspired by Washington Square’s past, students will create their own works of art in a medium of their choice.

https://librarycompany.org/geniusoffreedom/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Lesson-8-15th- Amendment-Congo-Square-COMPLETE.pdf

The Rhythms of Congo Square: The Second Line Beat, designed by Freddi Williams Evans and Ashley Shabankareh

Grade Level: Middle -Secondary

Using a PowerPoint presentation along audio and video clips, students will identify, clap and discuss primary rhythms in New Orleans indigenous music.

Trail of Tears: Music of the American Indian Diaspora, designed by: Jennifer Carnevale

Grade Level: Primary

This lesson examines several musical selections from the Five Nations heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee in particular) during and following the Trail of Tears of 1831 and 1838.

https://folkways.si.edu/trail-tears-american-indian-diaspora/indigenous-ballad-lament- dance/music/tools-for-teaching/smithsonian

West African Song and Chants: Children’s Music from Ghana, by Karen Howard, University of Washington

Grade Level: Primary

Using children’s music from Ghana, West Africa, students will gain experience with basic polyrhythmic ensembles. Singing, chanting, dancing and playing instruments are included throughout the unit.

https://folkways.si.edu/west-african-song-chants-childrens-ghana/music/tools-for- teaching/smithsonian

All Around this World  

Interactive global music and world cultures program for children 6- 9 years old. 




Freedom on the Move K-12 Strategies for Teachers 



Mama Lisa’s World: International Music & Culture  

A place for songs, rhymes, and traditions from across the globe for children and adults. 


National Association for Music Education  

Grade Levels:  All 

Online Resources for Music Educators 


Smithsonian Folkways Lesson Plans  


Teachers Pay Teachers  

Louisiana Native Americans: Worksheets and Teachings  

Grade Level: Primary 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:louisiana native americans


Teaching Strategies for K-12 Classrooms 

Music Rising, Tulane University and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South 



The Historic New Orleans Collection with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History  


African Songs and Rhythms for Children, recorded and annotated by Dr. W.K. Amoaku 

This album is designed to teach music to African children using a method called Orff Schulwerk or the Orff Approach. It contains lullabies, a funeral lament, and other songs that bridge the rhythm, movement, and improvisation of the traditional African approach and Orff Schulwerk. 



Ashanti: Folk Tales from Ghana, by Harold Courlander  

Recorded by anthropologist Harold Courlander in 1959, these Ashanti stories were adapted from his book The Hat Shaking Dance and Other Tales from the Gold Coast. Many of these focus on Anansi the spider, the popular trickster character of Ashanti folklore. 




From a Sesame Street Show 


Folk Tales from West Africa, by Harold Courlander  

Narrated by Harold Courlander, originally released in 1959, collection contains five folk tales from West Africa three of which have human characters and two have animals.  

https://folkways.si.edu/harold-courlander/folk-tales-from-west- africa/childrens/music/album/smithsonian 


Sound, Rhythm, Rhyme and Mime for Children, by Bilal Abdurahman 

This recording introduces listeners to everyday sounds and rhythms using bells, hammers and saws, electric fans, and typewriters. Encourages creative play activities through music and body movements. The liner notes include a transcript of the recording. 



Caribbean Songs and Games for Children  

Dr. Edna Smith Edet recorded these songs games in Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and at two public schools in New York city. Liner notes provide lyrics and information about songs as well as West Indian and Caribbean music. 


Related Lesson Plans: "Steel band Style, Calypso Culture and Childhood             Chants: Trinidadian Music for the Classroom"  


Children's Jamaican Songs and Games, by Louise Bennett 

Features ring games that have been  favorites of Jamaican children for generations.  

https://folkways.si.edu/louise-bennett/childrens-jamaican-songs-and-games/caribbean- world/music/album/smithsonian 


Ghana: Children at Play: Children's Songs and Games, produced by Ivan Annan 

Album producer Ivan Annan writes about the  This album building on the importance of children’s play in African culture, which is also a time for learning, friendship, and love. The liner notes and vocal tracks provide instructions for game activity.  



Latin American Children Game Songs (Various Artists) 

Introduces songs that Latin American children learn from their elders and teachers as well as those they learn from children. 



Uncle Bouqui of Haiti: by Harold Courlander, by Augusta Baker 

Storyteller Augusta Baker reads three of the Haitian folktales transcribed by Harold Courlander in his books "Uncle Bouqui Gets Whee-Ai," "Uncle Bouqui Rents a Horse" and "Uncle Bouqui and Godfather Malice."  


Duhig, Holly. Cultural Contributions from Africa: Banjos, Coffee, and More.  New York: Power Kids Press, 2018. 


Evans, Freddi Williams. Come Sunday: A Young Reader’s History of Congo Square. Lafayette: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 2017.  

Reader’s Guide: 


Keeler, Patricia & Júlio Leitão. African Dance: Drumbeat in Our Feet. New York: Lee and Low Books, Inc., 2014. 

Teacher’s Guide:   https://www.leeandlow.com/books/african-dance/teachers_guide 


Myvett, Kirstie. Praline Lady. Gretna: Pelican Publishing Co., 2020 

Weatherford, Carole B.  Freedom in Congo Square. New York: Little Bee Books, 2016 

Discussion Guide:  https://www.ala.org/rt/sites/ala.org.rt/files/content/cskbookawards/docs/CSK-2017-discussion-guide_FINAL.pdf