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.

Second Grade - Lesson 5 - Folk Songs


Review difference between folk songs and classical music.

Learn to sing three folk songs.


Words to songs, printed below

Classroom size map of the United States

Red River Valley

This well-known song started out in New York State as "In the Bright Mohawk Valley."

(Show the children on the map where the Mohawk Valley lies, in central New York near Utica.) As it spread through the south, cowboys in the Red River country in Texas localized it by changing the name of the water to that of the Red River, which flows along the border of Texas and Oklahoma (find on map). The sad, sentimental words seem just right to emphasize the loneliness of the life of a cowboy.

From this valley they say you are going,

We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile,

For they say you are taking the sunshine,

That brightens our pathway a while.

Come and sit by my side if you love me,

Do not hasten to bid me adieu,

But remember the Red River Valley,

And the girl that has loved you so true.

Home on the Range

This is a wonderfully exaggerated paean of praise for the beauties of the open range in the Midwest of the United States. It was sung in Kansas as early as the 1860s under the title "My Western Home" and was part of the oral tradition of folk songs for years before it was written down and printed in 1911. (Have one of the children find Kansas on the map.)

Write the words to the verses on the chalkboard and take some time to read it aloud. (Be sure they know that a zephyr is a gentle breeze and a curlew is a fairly large shore bird with a bill that curves down and a piercing call.) Brainstorm with the children about the pattern of the rhyme in the text. If they review what they have already learned about end rhymes and rhyme schemes, they will find this rhyme scheme different from what they have heard in other poems. See whether they can pick out the one verse where the first line does not continue the rhyme scheme as it has been established (fourth verse, Where the air is so pure, the zephyrs so free).

If you teach the children the words to the chorus, you can sing the verses for them and have them join you each time the chorus comes in.


Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam,

Where the deer and the antelope play;

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

And the skies are not cloudy all day.



Second Grade - Lesson 5 - Folk Songs


Home, home on the range,

Where the deer and the antelope play;

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

And the skies are not cloudy all day.



How often at night when the heavens are bright

With the lights from the glittering stars;

Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed

If their glory exceeds that of ours.




Oh, give me a land where the bright diamond sand

Flows leisurely down the stream;

Where the graceful, white swan goes gliding along,

Like a maid in a heavenly dream.




Where the air is so pure, the zephyrs so free,

The breezes so balmy and light,

That I would not exchange my home on the range

For all of the cities so bright.




Oh, I love those wild flowers in this dear land of ours,

The curlew I love to hear scream,

And I love the white rocks and the antelope flocks

That graze on the mountain tops green.




This American folk song has been with us since the nineteenth century and may have evolved as a joint effort by some men sitting around a tavern. Again, teach the children the chorus unless they are especially good readers and can read the text from the chalkboard. Read them the verses, though, for enjoyment before you sing the song. Be sure they know that a forty-niner refers to those people who joined the Gold Rush in 1849, and see if they can point out the spoofs and jokes in the text as you read the verses. It would be a good song for the children to act out in pairs with exaggerated movements, because it gives them a chance to clown legitimately.

In a cavern, in a canyon,

Excavating for a mine,

Dwelt a miner, forty niner,

And his daughter Clementine.


Second Grade - Lesson 5 - Folk Songs


Oh my darling, oh my darling,

Oh my darling Clementine!

Thou art lost and gone forever,

Dreadful sorry, Clementine!

Light she was and like a fairy,

And her shoes were number nine,

Herring boxes without topses,

Sandals were for Clementine.


Drove she ducklings to the water,

Ev'ry morning just at nine,

Hit her foot against a splinter,

Fell into the foaming brine.


Ruby lips above the water,

Blowing bubbles soft and fine,

But alas, I was no swimmer,

So I lost my Clementine.


Then the miner, forty-niner,

Soon began to peak and pine,

Thought he oughter jine his daughter,

Now he's with his Clementine.


In my dreams she still doth haunt me,

Robed in garments soaked in brine;

Though in life I used to hug her,

Now she's dead I draw the line.


Second Grade - Lesson 6 - Instruments of the Orchestra - Carnival of the Animals, Part I


Listen carefully to orchestral piece of classical music.

Begin to recognize characteristic sounds of instruments in string family.


Recording of Saint-Saëns, The Carnival of the Animals, (20 minutes playing time for entire piece; about 10 minutes for playing segments we'll be listening to this lesson)

Background for Teacher

The Core Knowledge Sequence for November recommends Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee," Mendelssohn's Rondo from his Violin Concerto in e minor, and one episode from Saint-Saën's The Carnival of the Animals for identifying some characteristic sounds of stringed instruments. For the sake of economy, we are building the lesson around all of the episodes of The Carnival of the Animals, since there is a great deal of diversity in the way the strings are used and a wonderful sense of wit and fun throughout the piece. If you happen to own recordings of the Mendelssohn, by all means feel free to use it to illustrate violin

virtuosity. If you have a recording of "The Flight of the Bumblebee" and wish to use that, you could supplement it by playing a very different version of the piece for the children performed by Bobby McFerron (voice) and Yo-yo Ma (cello). That CD is called Hush and is from Sony (SK 48177). The cut takes only 1:09 minutes to hear and is a brilliant imitation of the buzzy violin sound by the human voice.

The Carnival of the Animals was composed in 1886 by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921). He subtitled the work Grand Zoological Fantasy, and it is full of musical puns and fun. Saint-Saëns wrote it as a playful spoof for a Mardi Gras celebration, and the music was not published until after the composer's death. He may have thought it too frivolous, except for its most well-known segment, the beautiful cello piece "The Swan." In fact, all fourteen of the short episodes have special qualities, and the children will have an opportunity to listen to the sounds of some unusual orchestral instruments, since the piece is scored for flute and piccolo, clarinet, xylophone, glass harmonica, strings, and two pianos. Children have a wonderful time identifying the animals that are portrayed in each episode. Be sure you have listened yourself a few times before playing it for the class, since the episodes pass very quickly.

Recommended Recording

André Previn conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Philips CD 016-2) with Ravel's Mother Goose suite.


Tell the children that today they are going to listen to a piece of classical music composed by a Frenchman named Camille Saint-Saëns over one hundred years ago. (They may be interested in the sound of the French name, its sound, and how it is pronounced. Say it for them several times and let them try to pronounce it together.) Review the meaning of the terms classical music and composer (Lesson 2) and have someone find France on the map and

determine that France is on the continent of Europe.


Second Grade - Lesson 6 - Instruments of the Orchestra - Carnival of the Animals, Part I

Ask whether anyone remembers the names of the four families of instruments (strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion - Lesson 3). Next, look at some of the pictures you have collected in the file, showing what various instruments look like; alternatively, you could review this by using one of the illustrated books (Lesson 3) that show the instruments in color. Remind

the children that they heard all four families of instruments in The Young People's Guide to the Orchestra, (Lesson 3) and spend some time talking about their characteristic sounds.

Say: The piece we will listen to today is called The Carnival of Animals. In this piece, the composer uses certain instruments to sound like certain animals--the way they move, the way they look, sometimes the way they sound. First I want to play the very beginning of the piece, the "Introduction," and see whether you can hear an instrument we haven't heard before in our listening.

Next, play the opening segment of the piece and ask the children if they can tell you what instrument they hear that you haven't talked about before (piano). If they cannot identify it, you could make movements of playing up and down a keyboard as a clue. Tell the children that there are two pianos playing almost all the time in this piece. Show them one of the pictures of a typical symphony orchestra (as in Jeunesse's Musical Instruments, Scholastic, 1992 or any other you may have in your file), and point out that there is usually no piano in a symphony orchestra unless the composer writes a special part for it. In this case, Saint-Saëns wrote parts for two pianos playing at the same time. Ask: How many hands play two pianos? (four) Tell them the pianos can make very sharp bright sounds and also very rumbly sounds up and down the keyboard in this first section. Before playing the opening again, tell them that the title of this opening piece is "Introduction" and "Royal March of the Lion." Say: Listen again to those piano sounds, and then, when you hear the stringed instruments playing the royal march of the lion, I want you all to stand and march to it.

Play the opening again for the children, seeing that they follow the directions you have given (approximately 2 minutes playing time). Allow the recording to go to the second section, which sounds very different--like a lot of cackling. Let the children listen to that short section (again, about 2 minutes) and ask whether they could guess what that section is called (Accept any guesses and encourage their imaginations, by talking about some of their ideas.) Then tell them the name of the section is "Hens and Roosters," and it is the violins mainly that make those cackly sounds with their bows on the strings. Finally, play the first two sections through again, and tell them you will listen to the rest of the piece at their next lesson when you will also play a kind of animal guessing game with them.