Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.


First Grade - Music - Lesson 8 - Songs


Learn to sing three traditional American songs.


Words to songs, printed below

Pictures of fife and drum corps, or just drummers in uniform, in books or magazines, that show connection between use of music in wartime during French & Indian, and again in American Revolutionary Wars

Yankee Doodle

Most people believe the melody of this song is really ancient, perhaps as old as the high Middle Ages in Holland and England, with words such as "Yanker dudel doodle down." The words we sing in the United States were apparently written by a British soldier during the French and Indian War in 1755 as a way of making fun of the colonial soldiers; however, the song was so appealing that by the time of the American Revolution, it was sung and whistled throughout the Continental Army. (The children need to know that "macaroni" was a British term for the kind of fancy decorations some men wore on their clothes in order to get attention.)

Before teaching this simple song to the children, show them the photographs of drum corps and/or soldiers in uniform playing drums and marching. Tell the children something of how drums were used in European wars long ago and in the United States during the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars to keep the troops marching together and to inspire them to bravery. (They may have glimpsed some of this in parades or in films.)

A very simple snare drum beat can be simulated with sticks or two pencils to the rhythm of "Fath'r and I went." Have a few of the children at a time say the phrase over and over, "Fath'r and I went, Fath'r and I went, Fath'r and I went." Once they are firm in the rhythmic pattern and can tap it out as they say or whisper it, let the rest of the class sing the song with all its words as the "drum beat" pattern keeps repeating. You can show the children on a chalkboard what the pattern would look like in music notation:



Fa--th'r and I went, Fa--th'r and I went, Fa--th'r and I went,

If you have drums as a resource in the classroom, by all means use them. Have the drummers march ahead of the rest of the class, and lead them around the room.

Yankee Doodle went to town a-riding on a pony,

He stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.


Yankee Doodle, keep it up!

Yankee Doodle, dandy,

Mind the music and the step

And with the girls be handy.


First Grade - Music - Lesson 8 - Songs

Fath'r and I went down to camp along with Captain Goodin,

And there we saw the men and boys as thick as hasty puddin'.


There was Captain Washington upon a slapping stallion,

And all the men and boys around, I guess there was a million.


Recommended Books

Kellogg, Steven. Yankee Doodle. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976, 1996.

Charming illustrations show colonial dress and rural setting. Kellogg uses the song text as part of a story of a colonial boy on the day George Washington took over the troops in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1775. Easy to read, there is one line of text per page; several lesser-known verses are included that deal with British and American troops. A simple melodic transcription of the melody is included.

Shackburg, Dr. Richard. Yankee Doodle. NY: Half Moon Books (Simon & Schuster), 1994.

This version is illustrated with strong and expressive colored woodcuts by Ed Emberley. It is packed with good information about the background of the song, on a level that children can understand. Many more verses than found elsewhere are included, and an arrangement of the music done by Charity Bailey includes simple piano and/or guitar accompaniment.

On Top of Old Smoky

This is an old Kentucky mountain song about someone who didn't manage to hold onto a love relationship and is lonely and unhappy about it. (It could be a boy or a girl by changing the pronouns.)


On top of old Smoky,

All cover'd with snow,

I lost my true lover,

Come a-courtin' too slow.

A-courtin's a pleasure,

A-flirtin's a grief,

A false-hearted lover,

Is worse than a thief.

For a thief, he will rob you,

And take what you have,

But a false-hearted lover

Will send you to your grave.

She'll (he'll) hug you and kiss you

And tell you more lies,

Than the cross-ties on the railroad,

Or the stars in the skies.

Come all you fair maidens,

take warning from me.

Don't place your affections

in a green willow tree.

For the roots they will wither,

and the leaves they will die

And you'll soon be forgotten,

And never know why.BCP DRAFT MUS 22

First Grade - Music - Lesson 8 - Songs

On top of old Smoky,

All covered with snow,

I lost my true lover,

Come a-courtin' too slow.

She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain

Music historians say this song started out as a Negro spiritual called "When the Chariot Comes." American mountaineers made it into its present form by changing the words, and then the song with its words was spread by railroad work gangs in the West in the 1890s. It describes the fun of waiting for the stagecoach (drawn by horses) to arrive, perhaps with mail, perhaps with

company or long-lost family members. As the steam engine replaced the stage, the same excitement would attach to its arrival. It's a good song for clapping out the rhythm as it is sung. The words in parentheses can be added for rhythmic emphasis and movement possibilities.

She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes,

She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes,

She'll be comin' round the mountain,

She'll be comin' round the mountain,

She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes.

She'll be drivin' six white horses when she comes, (whoa, back)

She'll be drivin' six white horses when she comes, (whoa, back)

She'll be drivin' six white horses,

She'll be drivin' six white horses,

She'll be drivin' six white horses when she comes.

Oh, we'll all go out to meet her when she comes, (hi, babe)

Oh, we'll all go out to meet her when she comes, (hi, babe)

Oh, we'll all go out to meet her,

Oh, we'll all go out to meet her,

Oh, we'll all go out to meet her when she comes.

We'll be singin' "Hallelujah" when she comes, (hallelujah!)

We'll be singin' "Hallelujah" when she comes, (hallelujah!)

We'll be singin' "Hallelujah,"

We'll be singin' "Hallelujah,"

We'll be singin' "Hallelujah" when she comes.

Suggested Books for Songs

Fox, Dan (music arranger and editor) and Claude Marks (commentary). Go In and Out the Window. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art with Henry Holt, 1987.

This is a wonderful compilation of familiar songs for children, including the music for


First Grade - Music - Lesson 8 - Songs

singing with piano accompaniment and guitar chords. Every page has, in addition beautiful

reproductions of art works from all over the world (paintings, woodcuts, photographs, a truly unusual selection). It would be a first-rate addition to anyone's library. Some of the commentaries refer to the music; some to the art, and sometimes to both.

Win, Marie and Allan Miller. The Fireside Book of Fun and Game Songs. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974.

This collection (with piano accompaniment and guitar chords) is divided into sections such as "Echo songs, pattern songs, and songs with easy refrains and choruses," or "Motion songs and wordplay songs." There are excellent suggestions for movement and improvisation for particular songs in addition to some good rounds and easy harmonies for this age.

Sur, Fisher, McCall and Tolbert. This Is Music for Today 3. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1971.

Rather old-fashioned in format, this text book is full of a wide variety of songs appropriate to this age group and especially good for teaching simple elements of music theory to young children. It also contains synopses and notated themes from such classics as Grieg's Peer Gynt in concise and interesting ways.


First Grade - Music - Lesson 9 - The Nutcracker


Understand that ballet combines music, dance, and story.

Listen to the music Tchaikovsky wrote for the ballet.


Recording of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker or Nutcracker Suite

Video of the ballet (optional)

Pictures of ballet dancers from books or magazines

Pictures of percussion instruments and harp from books or magazines

Recommended Books

Untermeyer, Louis. Tales From the Ballet. New York: Golden Press, 1968.

This book, beautifully illustrated by the Provensens, is a wonderful resource for the stories of ballets, including such favorites as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. The stories are good for reading aloud to the children, and original production information (such as the names of the choreographer, composer, and librettist) is given for each of the ballets in a special section at the back.

Hoffman, E.T.A. Nutcracker. Illus. By Maurice Sendak. New York: Crown, 1991.

The German writer and composer E.T.A. Hoffman originally wrote this tale as "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice." This is the original version, translated into English, which is longer than the one we see in the traditional ballet. Sendak's illustrations were inspired by the sets he designed for the Pacific Northwest Ballet production and are good to share with the children, though the text may be difficult.

Appleby, William and Frederick Fowler. Nutcracker and Swan Lake: Stories of the Ballets. New York: Henry Z. Walck, 1968.

With simple black and white drawings by Audrey Walker, this is a very accessible retelling of the stories of both ballets. It is good for reading aloud and includes a brief chapter about the music (including notation of main themes) for each ballet.


Kultur 6-00-205052-3 Sel. #1481

This version is done by the Russian State Theater Academy of Classical Ballet.

Philips 6-00-186969-3 Sel. #070273

The Kirov Ballet

Nonesuch 6-00-135949-0 Sel #40160

This version is choreographed by Nureyev.


Even if you are able to borrow one of the videos, it would be good to read the story itself to the children before viewing it. The Appleby and Fowler version of Clara and Frank's magical Christmas Eve, listed above, is perfect for reading aloud to this age group; knowing the story will allow them to anticipate the ballet and music.


First Grade - Music - Lesson 9 - The Nutcracker

After you have read (or told) some version of the story to the children, tell them that the story itself is more than one hundred years old, and it was first written down by a writer and composer in Germany (have someone find Germany and the continent of Europe on the map) whose name was E.T.A. Hoffman. Say: Even though E.T.A. Hoffman wrote many pieces of music, he didn't write the music for The Nutcracker. The music was written by another famous composer named Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was Russian (have someone locate it). Tchaikovsky wrote the music so that the story could be made into a ballet.

Ask: Can anyone tell us about a ballet? (Accept any answer that includes the idea of dance and music.) What would you need to change a story in a book into a ballet? (music, dancers, costumes, scenery, musicians, someone [choreographer] to make up the steps for the ballet, someone to teach the steps to the dancers) What other kind of music have we heard that tells a story? The children may mention The Sorcerer's Apprentice and/or Peter and the Wolf, in which the instruments carry the narrative. They also heard at least some of Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel as part of last month's literature sequence. Remind the children that in opera the story is told in acting, speaking, and singing by the actors. In ballet, the story is told in the movements of the dancers. This means that when the composer writes the music, it must be above all dancing music.

You may want to tell the children to listen for a special instrument Tchaikovsky used in "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" that sounds like tinkly bells and fairies. It is called a celesta, looks like a small piano, but is really made with hammers that strike metal bars. (Most children will have had the opportunity to try a glockenspiel or xylophone which are simpler instruments that produce the same kind of sound.)

Say: These instruments are part of a family of instruments called percussion, which means their sounds are produced by hitting with hammers of different sizes and materials--some soft and some hard. Remind the children that they heard some of these instruments in Peter and the Wolf.

They will probably recognize the music of the "Russian Dance," which gets faster and faster as it goes along, then very suddenly stops. Have them notice how different the sound and steady rhythm of the "Chinese Dance."

Tell them about the characteristic 3/4 rhythm of a waltz, and demonstrate a simple waltz movement for them to remind them of the rhythmic pattern they have heard in other music this year ("Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"). Show them a picture of a harp, tell them it is a member of the string family that is plucked rather than bowed, and say: You will know when the "Waltz of the Flowers" comes, because you will hear the harp introduce the waltz all by itself, playing a solo.

If you do not have access to a video, play the music for the children, reminding them to listen for the parts and instruments you have just told them about. Naturally, the video adds the important visual component of the ballet, which adds to the experience of this music and makes the story much clearer. If there is enough space, invite the children to waltz when they hear the "Waltz of the Flowers" so they have some idea of how the movements are propelled by the flow of the music.