This project involved collaboration between many different people and levels: Three 4th grade classroom teachers, one K-8 LMS, one 9-12 LMS, one music teacher, one art teacher, one intern, over seventy-five students in 4th grade at Frazer School, and two students in 12th grade at Nottingham High School.
The 4th grade students at Frazer School were given lessons in preparation for the research that would then be used to compile the website by the Nottingham students. The first lesson introduced the students to the E*LIT project with a Brain Pop lesson on the Harlem Renaissance. The second lesson focused on the author, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and her book about Duke Ellington. The lesson also introduced the students to the concept of reading or skimming for information when doing research. The third lesson taught the students about the different resources that they would be using for their research and also the importance of including a list of resources used to collect the information.
After these three lessons, the students began their research on different topics that were mentioned in the Duke Ellington book. Students used books, encyclopedias, library databases, and websites to find the information about their assigned topic. Once all of the questions were answered, students put the information into paragraph form. The information was typed by the students and then forwarded to the Nottingham High School students to be added to the website.
The art work on the website was created by one of the classes of the 4th grade students. Fourth Graders learned about the historical movement that affected art history called the Harlem Renaissance. In the 1920s, the Harlem section of New York City experienced an influx of African Americans, who brought the seeds of a new culture previously unknown to the city. Students learned about artist William Johnson, who often incorporated jazz music in his art during the Harlem Renaissance. They created collages using different media and showed the influence of music in their artworks. Comparable to Johnson’s art, fourth grade students created works that enhance the elements of line and shape.
The music on the website was performed by another of the 4th grade classes. All of the 4th graders will participate in a school-wide assembly in April of 2009. This musical assembly will have a jazz theme and include student presentations about the Harlem Renaissance and what students learned during the completion of this project.