Recently I created a lesson plan and used it in my homeschool. A friend requested the details so, here I am, finally writing about it! I’m always creating lessons and I guess it would only make sense for me to record the successful ones here in my blog so others might take advantage of them. So let me get started with that.
This particular lesson plan was inspired by the book Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her. Some of my best lessons are inspired by books I randomly find on the shelf at the library during a time when I was given a few minutes to focus and really dig through the various titles. Billie Holiday is one of my favorite singers of all time so I felt really excited to find this book that I could use to introduce her to my children in an official manner. Sure, they’ve heard her music in the background of their days but this was a great opportunity to intentionally draw their attention to her wonderful voice, and her tragic story.
While the book doesn’t go into great detail about Ms. Holiday’s life, it alludes to the time she had to leave her dogs. In reality, she was going to prison because of drug charges. I felt comfortable sharing these details with my children. You should make a decision about what you feel is best for your own family.
History, photography, art, music, and literature are all incorporated into this lesson plan.
*First, I read the book aloud to the children. We discussed it afterward. One thing we talked about was what it would be like to leave their dog, Maggie, for an extended period of time.
*Next, we went outside and took portraits of each child holding our dog.
* After printing the portraits in black and white (on regular printer paper), the kids were allowed to use highlighters to decorate their pictures. We’d been studying pop art so it felt timely and appropriate to stick with neon colors.
*Once the pictures were colored and decorated, the kids cut them out and glued them into their sketch books.
*We were listening to a Billie Holiday station on Pandora during the art portion of the lesson.
And that’s it. It was that simple. The kids loved the story and creating the art. Not sure if they were crazy about the music but at least they have all heard a few songs by this amazing voice and they know a little bit about her life.
If you use my lesson plan, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.