Lesson Plan

Civil War Song Parodies

Grade Levels

8th Grade

Course, Subject

Arts and Humanities,Music
  • Big Ideas
    Humans have expressed experiences and ideas through the arts throughout time and across cultures.
    People have expressed experiences and ideas through the arts throughout time and across cultures.
    The arts provide a medium to understand and exchange ideas.
    The history of the United States continues to influence its citizens, and has impacted the rest of the world.
  • Concepts
    Conflict and cooperation among social groups, organizations, and nation-states are critical to comprehending society in the United States. Domestic instability, ethnic and racial relations, labor relation, immigration, and wars and revolutions are examples of social disagreement and collaboration.
    Conflict and cooperation among social groups, organizations, and nation-states are critical to comprehending the American society.
    Human organizations work to socialize members and, even though there is a constancy of purpose, changes occur over time.
    Musicians can use music to influence the way people view the world.
    Social entities clash over disagreement and assist each other when advantageous.
    Textual evidence, material artifacts, the built environment, and historic sites are central to understanding United States history.
    The historical and cultural context of a work of art influences both how it is made and how it is interpreted.
    There are similarities as well as differences in music created at different times and in different cultures.
  • Competencies
    Analyze a primary source for accuracy and bias and connect it to a time and place in United States history.
    Identify a contemporary issue and create a work that attempts to influence the way their classmates think about the issue.
    Identify similarities and differences between varying musical styles, time periods, and cultures.
    Interpret the meaning of a specific work of art in the context of the historical time and culture in which it was made.
    Summarize how conflict and compromise in United States history impact contemporary society.

Rationale

Fills a gap

Vocabulary

  • tempo
  • rhythm
  • phrases
  • sections
  • form
  • dynamics
  • lyrics
  • parody
  • production
  • copyright
  • critique

Objectives

Students will sing songs of the Civil War whose lyrics express varying points of view.

Students will analyze how the lyrics and music of the songs are used to promote different points of view and how they influenced the events of the time.

Students will compare and contrast lyrics and music of other historical time periods that have been written to promote different points of view and influence events.

Students will write lyrics to the exact melody and rhythm of a Civil War song in order to create a parody.

Students will write lyrics that show a point of view on the topic of bullying or other current social issue.

Students will identify the components of producing a music video.

Through cooperative learning groups, students will create a music video of their parody.

Lesson Essential Question(s)

How has the use of music to promote a point of view changed over time?


How much does music influence the choices we make?


Is the copyright law, as it is currently written, fair to both creators and consumers?

Duration

Six  to Eight 45-minute sessions

Materials

  • selected recordings of Civil War Songs
  • books which contain information about the Civil War Songs
  • printed copies of selected Civil War songs
  • parody rubric
  • recording device (flip video recorder)
  • sample parody
  • production materials (optional): costumes, props
  • pencils and paper or computer lab
  • rating sheet (constructive criticism)

Suggested Instructional Strategies

Instructional Procedures

Lesson 1:

The teacher will play an instrumental version of The Battle Hymn of the Republic played on  authentic musical instruments of the era as the students enter the room.

The teacher will ask the students to identify the song which was played and the time period in which it was written.

Facilitated by the teacher, the students engage in a discussion of the following questions:

1. What was the role of music during the American Civil War?

2. How is the role of music during the American Civil War the same or different to

that of the role of music today?

3. How can song lyrics represent a specific point of view? Give some examples.

What point of view is represented in The Battle Hymn of the Republic? Is there a way to change

the point of view?

 4. How can music influence decisions you make?


The teacher will list student responses on the board or on the computer for use in later lessons.The teacher will discuss their responses and inform the class of ways music was used during the Civil War.  These should include to rally the citizens behind the war, to cheer up and encourage the troops, to give signals on the battlefield, to provide music for marching, and to promote the views of the different groups involved.



The teacher divides the students into four mixed ability groups and distributes the lyrics to a selection of songs from the Civil War era. Some examples of appropriate songs include:

  • ·Battle Cry of Freedom
  • ·Goober Peas
  • ·Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
  • ·Dixie
  • ·Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground
  • ·We Are Coming, Brother Abraham
  • ·When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again

 The students, working in groups are asked to read and discuss the lyrics and identify the point of view represented by the lyrics. They may choose either the North, the South, the slaves, or a neutral point of view. This will be done by completing an organizer also distributed by the teacher.

 

Civil War Song and Composer

Musical Characteristics

Point of View

Interesting Information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The teacher is encouraged to choose songs with an obvious point of view, to choose songs where it might be more difficult to determine the point of view,and to choose songs which may represent multiple points of view. Resources are available which give historical backgrounds of the songs.

Each group discusses their answers with the class. Resources are available which give historical backgrounds of the songs.

Each group discusses their answers with the class.

 

The students, as a class, will sing each song following the discussion of the song lyrics. 

 

The teacher asks the students to analyze the music of the songs using the elements of music and to add them to their organizers.  The teacher should point out the use of 4/4 time and dotted notes which enabled the soldiers to march to the music. Students listen to recordings of representative songs accompanied by instruments of the era and are asked to identify the instruments used and add them to their organizer. The teacher leads a discussion of what instruments would have been used by the soldiers and why.

The students are asked to bring to the next class examples of songs that show a specific point of view, may influence the listener, and are class discussion appropriate. They are also asked to bring any instruments they may play that were used during the Civil War era.


W   The students will begin to understand the direction of the unit by the questions asked during the class discussion at the beginning of class and through explanation of the group work.
H    The discussion about the role of music and how it can represent different points of view and  the homework assignment will engage the students’ interest and encourage them to apply what they learned in class to their own musical experiences.
E    The reading of the lyrics and the singing of the songs from the Civil War will help make the issues of that time period more meaningful to all of the students.
R    Students will need to reflect, revisit, revise and rethink in order to participate in the class discussion and complete the homework assignment.
E    Through analysis of the lyrics students will express an understanding of the different points of view represented in the songs. By comparing their responses to those of the other groups they can self-evaluate their responses.
T     By working in mixed ability groups students can individually analyze the lyrics and collaborate with their peers to help determine the correct response.
O    The learning experiences in this lesson move from teacher directed to student directed during the course of the class period.


Lesson 2:

The teacher asks the students to share the examples of songs they brought to class. The students discuss their points of view and how the lyrics may influence one’s thinking.

The students sing the Civil War songs from the first lesson.

The teacher asks if the students have ever heard any other lyrics to the tunes of the Civil War songs. The class should answer in the affirmative as many Civil War tunes have multiple sets of lyrics. An example of this is The Ants Are Marching which is sung to the tune of When Johnny Comes Marching Home or any of the versions of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The teacher shows an example of John Brown's Body as an example of a parody from the Civil War Era.

The teacher plays or sings an example of a parody such as On Top of Old Smokey and On Top of Spaghetti and asks the students for further examples. Students are asked to describe the musical components of the parody. The teacher then asks the students if they can determine criteria for a parody. The teacher lists their answers on the board and adds to the list as necessary to develop a class list of criteria for a parody. This should include:

  • ·The music of the song stays the same as the original song
  • ·The lyrics must exactly fit the rhythm and melody of the song
  • ·Good parodies use some elements of the original lyrics
  • ·The created lyrics must show a specific point of view
  • ·The lyrics may make fun of something in an appropriate way

 

The teacher explains to the class that  each group will be writing a parody to one of the Civil War songs. Their parody must show a point of view and/or an attempt to influence the listener on a societal issue of today and must meet the criteria listed on the board. The lyrics must match the melody of the original song.

The teacher models process by leading the class in the writing of a parody to the melody of The Battle Hymn of the Republic on the topic of bullying. The whole class brainstorms ideas for lyrics and works together to create the parody.

The teacher asks the students to get into their groups from the previous class. The teacher randomly assigns a different Civil War song to each group. The group may write a new parody on the topic of bullying or choose another issue. Students who brought instruments may arrange the song to provide an accompaniment. The teacher will approve the issue before the end of class and/or the group begins work on the parody. The teacher will also meet with students interested in playing their instruments to assess what assistance they may need from the teacher.

W    By introducing the concept of parody and modeling the process of creating lyrics to anexisting tune the students know what should be included in their product.
H     By giving the students choice of the issue they are using for their parody the teacher creates student interest in completing the project.
E     The modeling of the process and the clarity of the requirements of the parody will
allow the opportunity for all of the students to be successful with the assignment.
R     Students reflect on the topic chosen, revise lyrics as they work, and rethink some of their ideas while completing the assignment.
E     Through the writing of lyrics to match the melody students will express understanding and point of view of the issue they choose as well as how they might influence the thinking of others through their parody in addition to demonstrating word stress relationships to rhythm principles.
T      By working in cooperative groups students will contribute individual ideas and skills to the product.
O     The learning experiences in this lesson include whole group instruction, teacher modeling of the assignment, and small group activities which require independent understanding of the concepts presented.

Lesson 3: (a continuation of Lesson 2)

The teacher reviews the assignment with the students and informs the students that the final performance will include the group singing the original Civil War song and explaining the point of view it represents in the historical context of the Civil War. The group will then sing their parody.

During this class period the groups will work on their parodies and be ready to share them the next class period. The teacher will facilitate as needed. This may take more than one class period.



WHERETO: Same as previous lesson.

Lesson 4:


The teacher reviews with the class the procedure for their performances and for peer evaluations of classroom performances. 

Process for peer evaluation:

  • Everyone shows respect for the performance by listening criticall
  • Everyone shows appreciation for the performance by applauding at the end
  • All comments must refer to the established criteria and show good reasoning



The groups are given time to rehearse their parodies before the performances.

Each group will sing their Civil War song, explain its point of view and then sing their parody.

At the end of each performance the class will give verbal feedback to the group. The teacher will document the comments for the groups to use for revisions.

The teacher explains to the class that during the next period they will have time to revise their parodies and prepare to video record their parodies. The teacher leads a discussion on what things they might want to include in their video, such as choreography, costumes, etc. Students are told to bring any costumes or props with them to their next music class.

The remaining class period will be used for students to revise their parodies as needed and plan for their videos.


W    By receiving feedback from the class on their presentations, students will know why and in what ways they should revise their parodies.
H     Student interest will be held by the presentations of parodies by their classmates as well as active attention to critiques of their own parodies.
E     Students will experience an understanding of parodies of others through the rubric critiques and will engage in class discussion.
R     Students will reflect on each others’ presentations as well as their own. Through peer critiques, students will revisit, revise, and rethink their group parodies.
E     Students will express their understandings through peer critiques and using the rubric results will engage in meaningful self-evaluation.
T     Cooperative parody groups will allow for addressing the strengths and needs of every learner.
O    Learning experiences will be organized through presentation, peer evaluation, and student revisions.


Lesson 5:


The teacher begins class by asking the students what criteria should be used to assess their parodies. The teacher facilitates the students responses and develops a rubric based on the criteria suggested by the class. The rubric should assess both the musical characteristics of the parody and the effectiveness of the parody’s lyrics in reflecting point of view or influencing thinking on the societal issue chosen by the group.

Students will refine and rehearse their parodies.

This may take more than one period.  Adequate time should be given for each group to complete their assignment.

 


The teacher or a student will record each group as it is ready.

W   Upon completion of revisions, and rehearsals of performance, students will record their parodies.
H    Students’ interest will be enthusiastically maintained as a result of the recording of each performance.
E    Students gain understandings of the lesson through recordings of revised and rehearsed performances of parodies.
R    Students will reflect on revised recordings of parodies.
E    Students engage in meaningful self-evaluation upon revision of the recorded parodies.
T    Group work allows for addressing the strengths and needs of every learner.
O    Organized presentations, revisions, and recordings of revisions allow for independent applications that emphasize growing conceptual understandings.

Lesson 6:

The class will watch the video recordings of each group and discuss each parody and performances using the criteria on the rubric they created the prior class.

Each group will assess their own performance and parody and write a reflection on the process. The teacher will also assess each group separately.

The teacher will lead a discussion on the issue of copyright. The class will learn that there were no copyright laws during the Civil War and a lot of songs were appropriated by people who did not write them. The teacher  should explain that parodies are acceptable under the current U.S. Copyright Law and that is why the class was able to write and record them without permission. Part of the discussion should be on the protection of intellectual property, especially in light of the available technology.

W    By creating their own rubric and applying it to each performance the students will gain understanding of the final evaluation process.
H     Students will be interested in seeing their own performance and those of their classmates. The task of assessing the products will also create student interest.
E     By establishing their own criteria for assessment prior to the assessment the students show understanding of the assignment. This gives all students the information they         need to create a successful product.
R     Students will reflect on their process through the assessment process and through the written reflection.
E     The written reflection allows for meaningful self-evaluation as does the student assessment of each product.
T     The mixed ability group work, the student choice of topic for the parody and the establishment of assessment criteria by the students allow for differentiation.
O    This lesson will be facilitated by both the students and the teacher. By assessing their own products using criteria they selected and by the written reflection of their process the students will demonstrate understanding of the concepts. The ending discussion will encourage broader thinking of the issues covered in the unit.

Formative Assessment

Formative Assessment

The teacher will be able to assess understanding of the first lesson by the examples the students bring to class. The students will receive feedback on their parodies at various points in the unit with time given for revision based on that feedback. Response to questions during whole class discussions will also provide information to the teacher which will assess student learning.

 

Summative Assessment

The teacher will assess each parody using the rubric developed by the class.

The teacher will assess each student's process using a rubric and the written reflection.

 

Sample Civil War Parody Performance Assessment Tool 1

 Advanced

  • ·The information presented about the Civil War Song was interesting and accurate
  • ·The point of view represented by the song was accurately determined by the group
  • ·The Civil War Song was sung with the correct melody and rhythm
  • ·The parody was sung with the correct melody and rhythm
  • ·The group began, remained and ended together
  • ·The group was professional in their performance
  • ·The instrumental parts were musically accurate and appropriate to the assignment
  • ·The video included choreography and/or costumes in a way which enhanced the parody

Proficient

  • ·The information presented about the Civil War Song was accurate
  • ·The point of view represented by the song was accurately determined by the group
  • ·The Civil War Song was sung with a few errors in the melody and/or rhythm
  • ·The parody was sung with a few errors in the melody and/or rhythm
  • ·The group had some difficulty beginning, remaining, or ending together
  • ·The group was professional in their performance
  • ·The instrumental parts were mostly accurate and appropriate to the assignment
  • ·The video included choreography and/or costume 

Basic

  • ·The information presented about the Civil War Song was missing or inaccurate.
  • ·The point of view represented by the song was inaccurate
  • ·Civil War Song was sung with many errors in the melody and/or rhythm
  • ·The parody was sung with many errors in the melody and/or rhythm
  • ·The group did not begin, remain, and end together
  • ·The group was unprofessional in their performances
  • ·The group used no instruments in their performance
  • ·The video included no choreography and/or costumes

 Comments:

 

Sample Civil War Song Parody AssessmentTool 2

 Advanced

  • ·The melody and rhythm of the parody is exactly the same as the original song
  • ·The lyrics of the parody exactly fit the rhythm and melody of the original song
  • ·The lyrics of the parody used some elements of the original lyrics
  • ·The lyrics of the parody show a specific point of view on the topic chosen
  • ·The lyrics were appropriate to the topic

 Proficient

  • ·The melody and rhythm of the parody is exactly the same as the original song
  • ·The lyrics of the parody fit the rhythm and melody of the original song with a few exceptions
  • ·The lyrics of the parody used minimal elements of the original lyrics
  • ·The point of view represented in the lyrics is difficult to ascertain
  • ·The lyrics were somewhat appropriate to the topic

 Basic

  • ·The melody and rhythm of the parody show differences from the original song
  • ·The lyrics of the parody fit the rhythm and melody of the original song with manyexceptions
  • ·The lyrics of the parody uses no elements of the original lyrics
  • ·There is no point of view represented in the lyrics of the parody
  • ·The lyrics were not appropriate to the topic

 

Comments:

 

Related Materials & Resources

The following resources will be helpful in developing this set of lesson plans but are not necssesarily free:

  • The Civil War Songbook by Keith and Rusty McNeil. WEM Records, Riverside, CA, 1999.
  • Rousing Songs and True Tales of the Civil War by Wayne Erbsen. Native Ground Music, 1999.
  • A Treasury of Civil War Songs by Tom Glazer. Hal Leonard Publications, 1996.
  • Building Moral Intelligence by Michele Borba
  • Bullies & Victims by Suellen & Paula Fried
  • Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention by Stan Davis & Julie Davis
  • Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Teacher Guide by Dan Olweus
  • Quit It! by Merle Froschl, Barbara Sprung, Nancy Mullin-Rindler

Allan Sherman's Parody "The Ballad of Harry Lewis" is a good example of a musical parody based on the the tune "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Lyrics and recorded examples are readily available online.

Author

Authors of the original unit: Dana Patterson, Nancy Hills, Kristina Keith. Authors of the revised unit: Pam Mahle, Sharon Potter.

Date Published

November 03, 2010
Loading
Please wait...