Woody Guthrie Elementary School Curriculum
here for text only version
Woody and Kids, Photo (c) Time Life
we constantly speak about "creating a community of learners". What
better way to build community than to gather each day to sing Woody
classes may open each day by singing "Howdi Do", one of Woody's
songs written specifically for children. Some classes may close
the end of each day with, "So Long It's Been Good to Know Yuh." Throughout the day, look for a time to sing and learn Woody's songs
as part of this thematic unit. As you tie in the songs with aspects
of social studies, language arts or science the children will develop
a large repertoire of Woody songs they know by heart. Similar to
whole group read-aloud, whole group singing after lunch is another
way to build community.
can take turns working the CD player, keeping a gentle background
of Woody Guthrie music as part of the classroom environment.
Woody, with his back to the camera, plays for workers in California
Photo by Seema Weatherwax
of Woody Guthrie's legacy is his role as songmaker for the people.
He often sang at migrant worker camps, public parks, union meetings
and political gatherings. Children can read Bonnie Christensen's
book, Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People, telling how Woody
shared his message through song.
the Shafter Farm Workers Community in California to the Highlander
Folk School in Tennessee to striking workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
Woody brought truth and enthusiasm to the cause with his wonderful
lyrics. Get the people singing in your school by hosting a Family
a Family Night Woody Guthrie Sing-Along with your class. Children
can make posters embellished with their own drawings of Woody with
titles of songs. Use the posters to advertise, making it either
a classroom evening or a school-wide event. Put out the word in
your own classroom newsletter inviting parents, grandparents and
with your class all the titles of Woody Guthrie songs they want
to sing that night. Invite a guitar player and other musicians to
come and provide live music as the families sing. Utilize a parent
or members from the community to be musicians. Or use the CD player.
Make overhead transparencies of the words so everyone will be able
to sing along. This is a great culminating event for the end of
your study of Woody Guthrie. Be sure to take photos for the children's