source: www.about.com
Children are never too young to learn of the contributions made by all different kinds of people. Black History Month is a great time to learn about a variety of people from sports players to scientists to musicians.  Your children probably still remember what you did for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so you can build on their prior knowledge of what things used to be like for "black" people.  (In case you missed the post, check it out here.)

There are also a number of different ways we can expose our children to learning new things.  One of those is music.

photo from www.amazon.com
The spark for this idea came from this website.  My girls love music and what a great time to introduce them to a type of music that black people are credited with creating.  I am talking about jazz!  There are several artists we could have looked at, but I picked the talented Ella Fitzgerald.

A fun CD to check out would be this one pictured.  It has familiar songs children will know, but they are done in the form of jazz.

source: www.ellafitzgerald.com
I started off our learning time by introducing my girls to what Black History Month is: a time to remember the accomplishments and contributions of black people.  Sweet Girl was the first one to bring up Martin Luther King, Jr and how he wanted everyone to be treated the same.  (See, children do listen to us!)  

Then, we talked a bit about who Ella Fitzgerald was and what she did.  You can learn more about her by reading her biography here.  We also talked about jazz music.  You can learn more about the history of jazz here and for a number of kid-friendly sites on jazz, check out here.

Listening to Ella Fitzgerald Sing

I told the girls we were go ing to be listening to a different kind of music called jazz.  They love music, so they were excited for the music to begin.  I started off playing a familiar song from the "Jazz for Kids" CD, Old McDonald Had a Farm.  I found a free recording to listen to here.  Of course, the girls knew the song and they noticed right away that the style was different from the way we usually hear/sing it.  Love Bug was moving in her seat and Sweet Bug wanted to hear more when the song was over.  I love when the girls get into our lessons!

We listened to Ella's music for at least an hour!  I put her name in Spotify and just let the music play.  I made sure to play some familiar songs like Christmas songs, too.  Again, it was a great learning time to see how songs can be done in different styles.

Before we started listening to music, I prepped a little craft for the girls to do while we listened to Ella sing.

Ella Fitzgerald Collage
Supplies needed:  a color print out of Ella Fitzgerald (we used a print out of her postage stamp which actually led into a discussion on why her face was on stamp), print out of music notes (I used an outline-type of clip art picture so the girls could color them), scissors, glue stick, piece of colored construction paper and markers

*Make sure you have some of Ella's music playing while your child is creating his/her collage.  Depending on your child's age, an adult may have to do the cutting.

What to do:
  1. Color in the music notes.
  2. Cut out the music notes.
  3. Cut out the picture of Ella.
  4. Make a collage on a piece of construction paper.
  5. Encourage your child to add drawings to the collage.
  6. Hang on display.

Take it further:  Dance to some of Ella's music.  Talk about what instruments your child hears when listening to her music.  Listen to other jazz artists.  Read books about Ella.

Sweet Girl has Ella saying "Ella" instead of singing.
Love Bug loves those markers!
"It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts."

– Ella Fitzgerald

**All photos and text are property of Angela Pounders and can not be distributed without permission.  

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