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  • Writer's pictureBrandi Prater

Multiple Days: Explore the Blues

Updated: Mar 11, 2023


Explore Blues music and its influence on American popular music. This lesson can coincide with National and/or International music holidays like: International Teach Music Week (March),African-American Music Appreciation Month (June, but could be taught in May), Black History Month (February), or any additional genres that were influenced by the Blues. This lesson explores the origin of the blues, its influence on other forms and styles of music, art, and its overall importance in American Culture.


  • Computers with internet

  • “Feel Like Going Home” by Muddy Waters

  • Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by MichaelMahin Reading Materials from the Library of Congress

  • Art Supplies for printmaking (Styrofoam prints or Collagraph Prints with collage) “How to Do Styrofoam Printmaking”. YouTube, uploaded by That Art Teacher, 22 February 2021



This lesson should be collaboratively planned and taught with the US History and ELA teachers and include the librarian with the aid of music and technology. The lesson will take place over 2-3 class periods, but extension activities can be added to include research, presentation, and collaboration activities. These lessons can also be split between the ELA, History, and Library to complete the lessons in a shorter duration.


The event will be promoted using the following tools:

• ELA & US HistoryClassrooms

• Blues ArtistBook Display in Library

• Bulletin Board or WindowDisplay

• Library Display(student artwork)

• Daily Announcements & Weekly Broadcast


Librarian will need to communicate/collaborate with the ELA and History teams prior to the lesson. Curate materials needed for the lesson and provided any collateral materials to classroom teachers including: pre-assessment, music & video lesson links, reading materials (printed articles& book copies),art materials, and digital resources for optional Pathfinder extension. Create & organize a calendar/spreadsheet to schedule classroom lessons. Book library computers or chrome carts for digital portions of the lesson. Collect additional copies of the book through purchasing or interlibrary loan.


Begin the unit by playing the “Feel Like Going Home” recording by Muddy Waters for learners to listen to and then answer the pre- assessment questions.

"I Feel Like Going Home" recorded by Muddy Waters on The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection: His Best, 1947 to 1955, © 1997. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

• Librarian will introduce the book and read Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters. Discuss how printmaking pairs with the story and why the style used in the illustrations is an appropriate format for this story.

• Provide students with articles from Library of Congress to read independently and students will listen to the music links embedded in the articles.

• Students will post comments or questions to an online discuss board after they have read the articles. Use discussion board to provide a broader discussion of the topic.

• Post-Assessment questions and a formative assessment will close out the reading portion of the lesson.

Lesson Extension: Students will create a work of art using a Styrofoam or collage printmaking techniques.The design should be inspired by musical instruments used in Blues music and they will include a stylized version of this element in their design.

Optional Extension: Students will create a pathfinder contain other available resources that can be added to the school library’s online system through the “resources” section.


Students will explore a cross curricular unit that explores the arts, history, reading and writing. They will grow to understand the historical and cultural contexts of the blues as they learn to identify the musical elements of this genre.Students will also learn more about the diversity of different cultures in the US and how each one plays an integral role in our society. This is intended to encourage conversations about different musicians, artists, and cultures and get them excited to learn more about these connections in popular culture.



Mississippi Dept of EducationLibrary Guide -

Voices Across Time: The Great Depression -

That Art Teacher -

National Today Music Holidays -

The PainfulBirth of Blues& Jazz - and-jazz/


Mahin, M., & Turk, E. (2017). Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters. Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Available on Amazon

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